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- 08/21/17--06:26: _Justice League Dark...
- 08/21/17--13:30: _Doomsday Clock: Iss...
- 08/22/17--08:50: _Deadpool 2: New Pho...
- 08/16/17--09:36: _Weird Things We Lea...
- 08/16/17--13:47: _Captain America Mov...
- 08/23/17--07:45: _Channing Tatum Says...
- 08/23/17--09:17: _The Clown Prince of...
- 08/23/17--09:49: _The Defenders has a...
- 08/23/17--15:50: _The Haunting of Hil...
- 08/23/17--21:03: _Teen Titans TV Seri...
- 08/23/17--19:11: _Complete Superhero ...
- 08/24/17--10:04: _10 Times the Joker ...
- 08/24/17--10:35: _Star Wars: Disney t...
- 08/24/17--11:10: _Star Trek Writers t...
- 08/24/17--12:34: _Shannara Chronicles...
- 08/25/17--08:23: _The Tick: The Histo...
- 08/25/17--08:49: _Why Tim Burton's Ba...
- 08/25/17--10:01: _The CW Superhero Cr...
- 08/25/17--12:23: _BLACK AF: America's...
- 08/25/17--12:59: _The Defenders Endin...
- 08/21/17--06:26: Justice League Dark: Two New Directors Linked with the Film
- 08/21/17--13:30: Doomsday Clock: Issue #1 Covers Revealed
- 08/22/17--08:50: Deadpool 2: New Photos of Cable
- 08/16/17--09:36: Weird Things We Learned From The Howard The Duck Novel
- Quackanudos (cigars)
- 08/16/17--13:47: Captain America Movies Should Have Stayed in the Past
- 08/23/17--07:45: Channing Tatum Says Gambit Movie is Starting from Scratch
- 08/23/17--09:17: The Clown Prince of Movies: 5 Actors Who Have Played The Joker
- 08/23/17--09:49: The Defenders has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reference
- 08/23/17--21:03: Teen Titans TV Series Casts Starfire
- 08/23/17--19:11: Complete Superhero Movie Release Calendar
- 08/24/17--10:04: 10 Times the Joker Almost Nailed Batman
- 08/24/17--12:34: Shannara Chronicles Season 2: Trailer, Release Date, Cast
- 08/25/17--08:23: The Tick: The History of a Laugh-Out-Loud Superhero Satire
- 08/25/17--08:49: Why Tim Burton's Batman 3 Never Happened
- 08/25/17--10:01: The CW Superhero Crossover Event — Trailer, Release Date
- 08/25/17--12:59: The Defenders Ending Explained
Two more filmmakers are now in the running for Justice League Dark.
The Justice League Dark movie that Warner Bros. Pictures has been planning has thus far lost both Guillermo del Toro and Doug Liman as potential directors. The pair had both been involved in developing the movie, with Liman the last to depart the project three months ago.
Since then, Warner Bros has been on the hunt for a new director and it seems it may have found two new candidates. A new report suggests that – after considering the likes of Andres Muschetti and Damian Szifron (who made It and Wild Tales respectively) – that the shortlist is now down to Daniel Espinosa and Gerard Johnstone. The former is best known for Life and Safe House, the latter for Housebound.
The screenplay for the film – at least the current draft – has been penned by Michael Gilio, and it's far too early yet to hear about casting or a release date.
Source: Beyond The Trailer
Superman will face off against Doctor Manhattan in the new DC event, Doomsday Clock. Check out the covers for the first issue!
One year on from the launch of DC's Rebirth initiative, which has fairly successfully cleaned up the detritus of the ill-advised New 52 relaunch of 2011, DC is getting ready to answer the big questions posed from the start. There was a ton of Watchmen imagery in that initial Rebirth special, and more sprinkled through the background of assorted ongoing DC Comics titles since then, with the implication being that Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan was the mysterious force responsible for the damaged, cynical tone of the New 52.
Which brings us to Doomsday Clock, the natural culmination of all of this. DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns has been absent from comics since last year's Rebirth special, but he's returning, along with artist Gary Frank, to answer some questions with Doomsday Clock this November. Johns and Frank are responsible for some of my favorite DC work of the last decade or so, having worked wonders on Superman with stories focusing on Brainiac and the Legion of Super-Heroes, so if anyone is going to take on a seemingly impossible task, I feel a little better knowing it's them.
“It's time. Last year, the DC Universe confronted the legacy of Watchmen in Rebirth the way Watchmen confronted the legacy of superhero comics three decades ago,” explains writer Geoff Johns in a statement when the project was first announced back in May. “Thematically, and metaphorically, there was no better choice than to use Dr. Manhattan. If you’re going to have a conflict between optimism and pessimism, a battle between the very forces of hope and despair, you need to have someone who personifies the cynicism that has leaked into our hearts and also has the ability to affect the entire DCU.”
“Doomsday Clock is a story for fans who love the DC Universe and Watchmen and want to see what a master of this genre creates when he puts them together,” says Gary Frank. “As for my artistic approach to the series, each panel is extremely detailed and I am constantly thinking through the position of every single element.”
DC has just revealed the Frank's covers for Doomsday Clock #1. Check 'em out...
The first is Frank's extraordinarily Gibbons-esque Watchmen-themed cover.
Then there's the Superman variant, which is a fine reminder that Gary Frank is probably the best Superman artist of the 21st Century, and nobody makes Supes' new costume look better.
And finally there's this mysterious lenticular/Rorschach variant. DC promises we'll see what this thing morphs into soon, too...
DC has gone back to the Watchmenwell within recent memory with their Before Watchmen titles, none of which were particularly inspiring. Still, Johns is careful to point out that this isn't a Watchmen sequel. "It is something else," Mr. Johns said in an interview with Syfy Wire back in May. "It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career."
Perhaps even more encouraging, this isn't going to be a typical superhero comic crossover event, and instead, Doomsday Clock will be entirely self contained. "We had no interest in doing a crossover with this," Johns told Syfy Wire. "There will be DC characters throughout this, but this focuses in on only a handful. There is a lot of focus on Superman, and Doctor Manhattan. Doctor Manhattan is a huge focus, and his reasons for being here, and doing what he does, ultimately have to do with Superman. And there are many, many more characters to be involved, but it is a bit early to discuss."
The focus on Superman is intriguing. Superman was a character who felt particularly directionless for much of the New 52 era (although that has recently been fixed), and of course Dr. Manhattan is the only super-powered being in the Watchmen universe. Johns and Frank will be exploring how these two characters affect each other. Superman, of course, is the epitome of the hope and optimism of the DC Universe while Dr. Manhattan is...not that.
Even the title, Doomsday Clock, has significance for both Superman and the broader Watchmen theme. The "doomsday clock" was a visual and thematic point throughout Watchmen, and, of course, the presence of the word "Doomsday" in that title should have significance for Superman fans, as that's the name of the monster who killed the Man of Steel.
As someone who has been rather against the prospect of bringing Watchmen concepts into the DC Universe (so much so that I wrote an entire article, which turned out to be very wrong, explaining how those Watchmen references in Rebirth weren't meant to be taken literally), I have to confess that "The Button" which ran through the pages of Batman and The Flash and dealt directly with some of the fallout from both Flashpoint and the Rebirth special, was an excellent read. I've even warmed to elements of Flashpoint I previously had little time for. If Doomsday Clock is as careful with this tricky concept as DC has been with all of this so far, it might just work.
We'll find out when Doomsday Clock is released on November 22nd.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Josh Brolin appears in a new funny Deadpool 2 photo with him in his Cable gear holding mini-Deadpool.
Deadpool 2 has the lofty task of following up the film industry's biggest surprise story of 2016 in Deadpool, which turned a meager (for a blockbuster), $58 million-budgeted freshman effort into a $783 million global phenomenon. With Ryan Reynolds set to reprise his role as the Marvel Comics Merc with a Mouth, he will be joined by a classic comic book rival in Cable, played by Josh Brolin, who makes a detour from his Marvel Studios gig as Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War to play an equally-iconic antagonist to our antihero.
John Wick's David Leitch is directing Deadpool 2. While the Deadpool 2 script is still officially in the hands of original film scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, it was revealed to Collider that screenwriter extraordinaire Drew Goddard has been brought onboard to work on the film’s script as a consultant.
Deadpool 2 is now in production, so expect news to hit faster than bad chimichangas! Here's everything we know:
Deadpool 2 News
Check out some new looks at Josh Brolin as Cable from the set!
— Universo X-Men (@universoxmen) August 20, 2017
— Universo X-Men (@universoxmen) August 21, 2017
Earlier Ryan Reynolds took to Instagram to reveal yet another image of Cable, this time with the Merc with the Mouth... kind of. In the below image you can see Cable holding a plush mini-Cable. Among Reynolds' comment about his co-star, he wrote, "The camera really does add 10 pounds" and "Josh Brolin and I just love to hang out and chat between takes. He calls me his lil' Shake Weight.™"
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 7, 2017
Josh Brolin also posted a picture of his character on Instagram, which you can check out below:
Emulating Ryan Reynolds's habit of scooping his own stories, Domino actress Zazie Beetz took to Instagram to post a second Domino photo, this time a close-up.
Interestingly, this new Domino photo seems to explain Deadpool 2's version a bit more. Of course, in the pages of Marvel Comics, the character – a government-bred experiment to create the perfect assassin – is depicted as having chalky white skin, blue eyes, with a black circle tattoo around her left eye. Here, we have an approach that’s arguably more grounded in reality, with Domino’s signature eye mark manifesting as a spot that appears to be whitened by vitiligo (this is not yet confirmed). We can also see that her eyes are heterochromiac (each different colors).
Ryan Reynolds, who has made himself the #1 source for official Deadpool 2 news in the universe, was the first to (officially) announce that Atlanta's Zazie Beetz landed the role of Domino. In true Ryan Reynolds fashion, he did it on social media. And now he's done it again, revealing the first official look at Ms. Beetz as Domino, mirroring how Reynolds' Deadpool costume was first revealed.
Domino is an assassin for hire, and founding member of X-Force, who first appeared in the very same comic that first introduced Deadpool, New Mutants #98. With an X-Force movie set to follow Deadpool 2, we can see where this is going.
Anyway, don't expect this to turn into an X-Force movie or anything like that.
Deadpool 2 Release Date
Production on Deadpool 2 is now underway, which gives it plenty of time to make its June 1, 2018 release date.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Deadpool 2 Trailer
Logan didn't have a post-credits scene. Instead, it has kind of a pre-credits scene, which is basically a wacky teaser for Deadpool 2. It's not quite a trailer, but it's 100% legit, stars Ryan Reynolds, and was directed by David Leitch. This won't appear in the movie, but there's definitely a touch of what you'll see in it here in terms of tone.
And by "tone" we mean "exactly what you expect/want out of a Deadpool movie." There's some nice symmetry to letting Ryan Reynolds drop this one before 20th Century Fox, since he's apparently the person responsible for the test footage leak that finally got this movie the greenlight in the first place a few years back. He continues to "deny" that.
Watch it here. It's pretty great. ALSO it has come to our attention that mobile users are having trouble seeing the video, so you can click here to watch it if it isn't coming up. Sorry about that.
A couple of things worth noting here:
1. You can see the word "Hope" scrawled on that phone booth. This could be a joke, considering the Superman: The Movie theme is playing, that Superman's "S" is "a symbol of hope."
However, it probably refers to Hope Summers, who is Cable's adopted daughter and holy moley does this get too confusing to get into right here.
2. You can also see "Nathan Summers coming soon!" written on there. In other words, that's Cable, and it's no secret whatsoever that Cable is in this movie.
The novelization of the infamous Howard the Duck movie is genuinely amazing.
Given our 2017 on-demand lifestyles, it's understandable if you are ignorant to the importance that movie novelizations once possessed. Created in a time when movies played theaters once and then seemingly disappeared into memory, these tie-in books were a cheap way for audiences to relive theatrical offerings. As home video became more commonplace, the tie-in novel slowly became a relic of a forgotten time, a quaint collectible at best, literary oddity at worst. Besides, people would rather see the actual movie than read it, right?
And so we now live in an era where damn near every form of entertainment that has ever existed is at our fingertips. Except of course for new movie novelizations, which are now more of a prestige, boutique thing (see Charles Ardai's novel of The Nice Guys for an example) than the merchandising given they once were.
At the risk of turning into a grumpy, sighing real-life version of The Simpsons'"old man yells at cloud" meme, I will say that the fall from grace of the movie novelization is a bummer because it denies readers the opportunity to see how a product intended purely as a quickie cash grab can become a classic in its own right. Although George Gipe's take on Gremlins -- in which the bombshell that the titular creatures are in fact chaos-loving aliens from a distant star is dropped -- comes a very close second, the greatest of all movie novelizations is Ellis Weiner's gleefully sardonic take on Howard the Duck.
We recently reread this 232-page masterpiece and can say without any sense of detatched irony or manufactured whimsy that Weiner's work would be right at home amongst the work of Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and Daniel Manus Pinkwater in the sci-fi/humor section of your personal library.
Here's a few reasons why.
From the first page, Weiner understands what an inherently ridiculous character Howard the Duck is.
During the opening scene of the movie, Howard is yanked across from the universe while the commanding voice of Richard Kiley gives a speech laden with lots of psuedo-cosmic importance. This was probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but always came off a bit pretentious. This point is not lost on Weiner, who spends the majority of the first chapter skewering the "voice of the universe" conceit as silly and hamfisted. Right out of the gate you get a sense that the author is going to let his creative juices flow all over the assignment he has been given, even if it means nibbling at the hand that feeds a little bit.
It should be noted that Ellis Weiner is no ordinary hired gun. At the time of this novel's writing, he had already enjoyed an impressive career working as an editor for National Lampoon, and his involvement with that publication led to his writing the still-cutting edge Frank Herbert parody Doon. Given that his comedic sensibilities were on a similiar wavelength to those of Howard's creator, Steve Gerber, Weiner was an ideal choice to give this novel some much needed irreverence. It is a talking duck from outer space we are dealing with here after all. Have some perspective.
Four pages in and the following passage gives some subtle commentary into how Weiner himself may (or may not) have felt about this gig:
"Howard was not only tired, he was irritable, and assailed by that almost nauseating sense of futility and waste that, sooner or later, descends on almost everyone the moment they perceive--if only for a second--how pointless and dumb their jobs really are."
Ouch. If he was disgruntled with the source material he had to adapt, he certainly didn't half-ass his task at hand as Weiner's writing truly expands the world of the film and its characters. Case in point...
The book is full of asides that give insight into the characters and their backgrounds that is almost completely absent on screen.
Did you realize that Beverly decided that she would do anything she could to avoid "an ordinary life" when she was young? Or that Howard went through some serious soul-searching is his youth? Or that Philsie desperately wanted to be a scientific mind that was respected by, and featured on, PBS? Probably not, but Weiner carefully details the wants and desires of the main characters nevertheless. He even spends some time chronicling what makes a public relations exec at a nuclear power plant tick before the man is callously destroyed by the Dark Overlord's lust for energy.
Elsewhere in the book, regular Coverage In-Depth Inserts pop-up to provide further analysis on everything from a comparison of lounge chairs on Earth versus those on Duckworld to a look at the surprising cultural set-up over in the Nexus of Sominus. These asides were very reminiscent of entries from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and each gives the book some additional quirkiness that the movie needs.
The film's most infamous moment is not featured in the novel.
Yes, the condom scene. So shocking was the suggestion that Howard liked to get it on that this sequence was snipped from some overseas prints of the film (even though he should be seen as a role model for practicing safe sex). The novel features Bev picking up the wallet, but no mention of the prophylactic is made. An edit that this writer considers to be, well, fowl.
Weiner interupts his novel to discuss the pros and cons of censorship.
In the scene where Howard is stripped searched by the police, Weiner stops the action in the story to state that he won't transcribe the harsh language exchanged between characters at this moment. Why? Here's his explanation:
"Such words--in print, if not in person--make certain people uneasy. This very book, harmless jest though it is, might be banned in certain locales, or even burned in others. Certain parents would claim Howard the (of all things) Duck capable of corrupting their children and advancing the cause of Satan in the modern world. Yes, that Satan.
The consequences would be dire."
This hilarious explanation, which pokes a great deal of fun at 1980s political correctness run amuck, goes on for several more paragaphs. As if Weiner needed a break from the Duck action to blow off some comedic steam. It's a tremendously funny aside that further differentiates the book from its commerce-based origins and propels it into the stratosphere of irreverent art.
Phil Blumburtt is a raging atheist
Arguably the character who gets the most development in the novelization is Phil Blumburtt. Played in the film by Tim Robbins as a lovable schnook, here readers get a further sense that Phil is a genuinely good guy beneath his wacky exterior. (The book also solves one of the biggest questions of the movie, why Phil is suddenly a rock and roll tech guy when he has previously devoted his life to science, with some quick dialogue explaining that he is just helping out Cherry Bomb until he can figure out his next career move). The greatest bit of insight we get about Phil is when he recalls the worst date he ever had, one that culminated in a science vs. faith discussion that ended with the following exchange:
"But that's a belief, too. You have faith in science, and I have faith in creationism."
"But science is true, and creationism is a bunch of literal minded mythology---"
"Maybe science is a bunch of mythology. How do you know it's true?"
"Because it is, you stupid idiot!"
So it's safe to say that Philsie's a Hillary guy.
SO MANY DUCK PUNS
John Cleese was once (probably falsely) attributed to the quote that the three enemies of comedy are "puns, puns, and puns." I don't know how much validity there is to that statement, but I can tell you that any pun-haters out there should just stop reading right now, 'cause shit is gonna get real. You know how the entire Duckworld sequence pretty much exists just to make stupid duck-related puns? Well in the book, Weiner really doubles down with that aesthetic. Here then are a mere sampling of some of the pun-ishing (sorry) jokes featured in the book:
• Birdweiser (alcoholic beverage)
• The Fowlharmonic Orchestra (professional musicians)
• American Eggspress (credit card)
• Rubeak's Cube (puzzle toy)
•Marcus Webfoot, M.D. (television program)
• Norman Mallard (writer)
• Squaking Heads (rock band)
• Bad Day at Quack Rock (motion picture)
• Mallard Fillmore (president)
•The Fountainhen (famed Duckworld novel that merits its own Coverage In-Depth Insert)
And on and on and on. This book is remarkable. Some might even say it will quack you up. (Drops mic).
Chris Cummins is a writer and comics/historian. You can follow him on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.
We have an unpopular opinion: Captain America movies would have been better if they stayed in the 1940s and World War II.
I have a pair of contradictory opinions for you. The first popular one is that the Captain America movies are the most consistent mini-franchise in Marvel Studios’ gargantuan, multi-headed IP-Hydra that we call the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Indeed, whereas most franchises tend to lose steam by their third installment, and most Marvel Studios sequels have tended to be a stepdown from their predecessors, The Winter Soldier and Civil War both improved upon what came before, specifically Captain America: The First Avenger. But on the flipside, this still doesn’t mean the franchise should have ever left the 1940s—and particularly in the hurried manner that makes The First Avenger a fairly weak film.
And there’s that darn unpopular opinion. You were warned.
Yep, for as good as Winter Soldier and Civil War are—not to mention The Avengers—it will never seem like anything less than a missed opportunity for Marvel to have turned The First Avenger into exactly what the title implies: an advertisement for the epic team-up slugfest to come a year later. For while that 2011 movie actually has plenty of merit on its own, it could have been so much more.
To be fair, Captain America: The First Avenger opened in a different time. Unlike 2017, when Marvel Studios runs Hollywood and thus more or less the moviegoing world, Marvel Studios was still in its fledgling “Phase One” stage seven years ago, and there was no guarantee everything would work out. While 2008's Iron Man was a runaway success and a homerun the first time up to bat (not counting the non-canonical Punisher: War Zone), that same year saw The Incredible Hulk, a so-so semi-sequel/semi-reboot that did the equivalent of “meh” in box office receipts.
By the time 2011 came around, Marvel had two new origin movies, their first since Iron Man in 2008, and one of them had “America” in the title only two years and change since the globally unpopular President George W. Bush left office in the midst of a worldwide financial meltdown.
On paper, a Captain America movie looked like a riskier bet than even mythological Thor. Hence the subtitle “The First Avenger,” and the implicit tease that if you want to enjoy 2012’s upcoming mega-film, The Avengers, you must give ol’ Cap a chance. It also helped a great deal to set it in the distant past during the last cleanly “just war,” aka World War II. It’s a conflict that has become enshrined in the American identity and our country’s own self-mythologizing. This is the “Greatest Generation,” and Captain America exemplifies those qualities.
And he does since that generation may very well be exactly what Tom Brokaw exalted with his turn of phrase. The greatest. Still, the trick of it is to use the setting to emphasize a romantic view of perceived American Exceptionalism while steamrolling the character into an Avengers team-up movie that would heighten his popularity for a sequel.
And from a strictly business vantage point, it quite honestly worked. Captain America: The First Avenger did a respectable $177 million in the U.S. and $371 million worldwide. By the time of his third installment (coupled with an assist from the ever-popular Iron Man), Cap was headlining in billion-dollar grossing films. Nevertheless, The First Avenger is at odds with itself as a movie, right down to the fact that it really doesn’t feature a second act beyond a bridging montage. There is a wonderful first act to the film, which introduces Chris Evans as the Star-Spangled Man to perfection, and then there is almost wholly an hour-long race to The Avengers. Consequently, the picture is incredibly uneven and squanders all the potential of its premise.
At the start, Captain America: The First Avenger is a highly romantic vision of 1940s America. More than director Joe Johnston’s previous pulpy Disney film, The Rocketeer, this first Cap movie imagines a wartime United States in glasses so rosy that it’s impossible to see anything beyond the bloom. Steve Rogers (Evans) is a scrawny kid from Brooklyn—which he’ll never let you forget—that wants to serve, and the U.S. military is so fair and open-minded that British women can command combat roles and the services are desegregated in 1942… a full six years and two wars earlier than when Harry Truman actually dissolved that racist practice.
But historic whitewashing aside, this sequence works very well, because Captain America is himself a product of that time’s patriotic (and propagandist) comic books. Also who doesn’t enjoy seeing a man draped in the American flag punching Adolf Hitler in the face? The First Avenger even has some fun with that iconography in its most inspired moment: a USO show montage of Cap performing for war bonds while decking stagey Nazis across their crumbling glass jaws. It plays better at Radio City Music Hall than to the actual boys on the frontline, of course.
This is the movie at its best, reveling in its lead characters, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). It’s also probably why the first act of the movie—everything from when the movie flashes back from its 2011 prologue to Cap finally becoming a soldier and saving a bunch of POW G.I.s behind enemy lines—runs longer than usual at over an hour. And honestly, this is fine, save for the fact that the movie then realizes it doesn’t have time for a second act.
What follows is a glorified montage of years’ worth of history, and Captain America going from PR prop to authentic legend. Newsreels in the vein of “The March of Time” explain most of Captain America’s exploits, and the entire narrative turns into a fumbling gallop toward a dippy climax. Even for fans of the later sequels, this had diminishing effects, as a relatively minor character’s death during this speedy and incoherent portion of the movie becomes a focal point of the sequels. Yet when Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes barely registers in the first movie, his resurrection becomes equally irrelevant in the following sequels that would place him at their center.
Eventually, the movie limps into a finale where the villain isn’t so much killed as put on a backburner to seemingly return (although even that has yet to pay off), and Cap is warped awkwardly to 2011, just in time for the next one. As aforementioned, this made good business sense, but going back to that strong first hour, the multiple missteps are obvious.
The story of Captain America would have benefitted from several movies set during the Second World War. As the fact that the first movie is even moved to that period indicates, it’s his natural habitat as a pulpy action hero. Everyone in the MCU speaks in whispered tones about how mythic Steve Rogers’ legend was from this era, but we never see it except in flashing vignette. He apparently inspired a generation of soldiers to fight a little harder, but he never appears to even be on a battlefield save for an ugly slab of blue screen work in that “second act” montage that features a solitary shot of Captain America blowing up an enemy tank.
Nor do we get a sense of the camaraderie of Cap and Bucky, or any of his other sidekicks. The movie is in such a hurry to get on with its fiduciary obligations that it is easy to forgive any viewer who cannot recall if the “Howling Commandos” had individual names. Instead of being a movie about Cap’s greatest hits, there could have been a trilogy of films building up his historic stature in this setting, just as Christopher Nolan convincingly turned Batman into a figure for Gotham City memorials.
But that is the tradeoff that comes with valuing franchise brand synergy over individual stories. There is a very practical reason to set The First Avenger in World War II, but the movie never seemed that comfortable with it. Cap doesn’t ever really see a battlefield and he also never fought Nazis except in USO pantomime. Despite being German villains, the bad guys of The First Avenger are the more cartoonish HYDRA. Johnston mentioned at the time that he wanted the movie to evoke his mentor Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones pictures, but Spielberg wasn’t afraid of offending foreign markets by having Indy punch out clearly German dressed baddies. Nor did he mind if they used guns instead of the Star Wars-esque laser zappers of HYDRA, which more or less turns the second half of Cap’s first movie into a strangely earthbound space opera.
These flaws have only become more profound in 2017 with the release of Wonder Woman, a movie that moved its protagonist’s story from World War II to the first Great War to End All Wars. Even so, it didn’t shy away from its setting. In a single moment of putting Princess Diana on a No Man’s Land battlefield, and then in a German-occupied Belgian village, Wonder Woman did more to create a sense of mythic aspirational awe than Cap’s apparent years of service.
This is in large part because even though Gal Gadot’s superheroine is scheduled to also appear in this year’s Justice League, director Patty Jenkins and her studio did not mind making a self-contained movie that was in no hurry to get anywhere other than Armistice Day. It also didn’t mind sending a few lovable characters to the underworld and let them stay there… as wars tend to do.
Tellingly, recent accounts suggest that Jenkins and Gadot’s upcoming Wonder Woman sequel will also avoid a modern era setting. While they are moving pretty far ahead in the 20th century—to the 1980s to be exact—they have the inherent advantage of their heroine being immortal. But more cunningly, they realize that period settings give freedom to explore modern issues without ruffling as many feathers. The Reagan Years allow Wonder Woman to continue to tackle a modern issue in the past that it only touched upon in its 1918-set predecessor: Diana’s fight for equality for women. It’s a fight that is still going on today, but it’s easier for corporate products to be more honest in a period context, while it also simultaneously continues Diana’s growth from the last film with the freedom to say whatever it wants. This is a refreshing alternative to being beholden to the corporate branding needs of tying her storylines into whatever the hell is happening with the latest crossover movie.
Sometimes, good business can allow for good creative decisions too. It’s a shame when those things are treated as mutually exclusive in this genre. Just as it’s a shame that we never saw Steve and Peggy get that dance, which a better film should have had time to do.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
The star of the alleged Gambit feature film says it’s still on, but needs to start over.
With two directors having come and gone, a release date yet to be determined and a script not quite nailed down, it seems as if the long-awaited movie based around X-Men character Gambit has been as shaky as a house of cards in recent times.
Both Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) have sat for brief spells in the director’s chair, which is currently vacant. Yet star Channing Tatum -- who has stayed attached to the project throughout its development -- said in a new interview with Hey U Guys that Gambit is still alive:
“I think we got lucky – we got hit with some setbacks and it was all for a good reason. We were trying to do something completely different. We were trying to do something that this genre of movie hasn’t seen before. We kept running into the same problems, and then Deadpool and Logan came through and kicked the doors down. Now we’re really getting to do some of the things we’ve always wanted to do with the script – we’ve just sort of started over.”
If we understand him, the success of the R-rated, raunchier and more violent Deadpool and Logan has opened up an opportunity for Gambit to go down the same path, which has in turn provided a chance for a complete overhaul of the movie’s concept and story -- but perhaps this time it will stick.
Gambit was first announced back in January 2015 so the film has a while to go before it matches the length of Deadpool’s development process. Do you think the movie will ever make it to the screen?
We look at what each of the movie Joker actors have brought to the role, from Cesar Romero in Batman '66 to Jared Leto in Suicide Squad.
Whether or not you liked Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad, you can't argue with a $745 million in worldwide box office. That 2015 movie once again reminded Warner Bros. that the Clown Prince of Crime is their most bankable screen villain, and not even anemic reviews could keep audiences away. That's why the recent news that they're developing a Joker solo movie, produced by none other than Martin Scorsese, should come as no surprise.
This is a character historically infamous for his theatricality; he’s a scion of chaos, the maestro of malevolence, and a twisty yin to Batman’s straight-laced yang. He’s a comic icon that was himself borne from the haunting visions of cinema’s earliest glories, as Bill Finger was in part inspired to co-create the supervillain after watching Conrad Veidt’s eerie transformation in the 1928 Expressionist classic, The Man Who Laughs. Perhaps that is why each return to the big screen is heralded as much as any caped or cowled superhero.
In both the mediums of print and celluloid, the Joker has left an unforgettable imprint on the population that’s as grotesque as a mouthful of Smilex. So join us now, as we revisit all the times the Joker got the last laugh after the movie house lights went out.
While the Caped Crusader made the jump to the big screen (in a fashion) with serials during the 1940s, the Joker didn’t follow from the printed asylum until he had already appeared on TV. Yep, Batman: The Movie may have been originally conceived by William Dozier as a way to pique interest in a coming TV series, but due to financial reluctance at 20th Century Fox to pay for the whole production, Bat-fans weren’t able to get their Bat-fix at Bat-theaters until after the first Bat-season was complete in 1966.
And on the silver screen to reprise his television role as the Joker was popular character actor and performer Cesar Romero, who had already worn the make-up in several episodes of the show's first season. Coming from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Romero was the son of affluent New York socialites of Cuban heritage (his maternal grandfather was the Cuban patriot José Marti). So to Tinseltown, this was good enough for him to self-ascribe the nickname, “the Latin from Manhattan.”
Getting his start in the early ‘30s, Romero often played exotic supporting roles, such as his villainous turn in 1934’s original The Thin Man. Or, more kind-heartedly, he played Shirley Temple’s wise London neighbor who hailed from India in The Little Princess (1939). He also was renowned for his dance routines with Carmen Miranda in 1940s diversions like Week-End in Havana (1941), at least until he volunteered for the Coast Guard in 1942—he’d go on to serve in the Second World War at both the Battle of Tinian and Saipan during 1944.
As the Joker, Romero maintained his Latin lover moustache even in the white makeup, apparently insisting that no amount of cackling would impede his trademark appearance. However, his Joker was a fairly pitch perfect adaptation of the Golden/Silver Age of comicdom’s purple suited huckster. More a harmless grifter with a clown fetish than a true menace to Gotham City, on both the Batman TV series and its movie spin-off, Romero oozed a childlike sense of mischief. Comic purists would say such over-the-top shenanigans were most inspired by the artwork of Dick Sprang, for Romero’s Joker was surely a live-action cartoon.
Within the context of the film, Romero’s Joker appears to be on equal footing with Burgess Meredith’s Penguin. The two fiends have convinced most of Batman’s rogues, including the Riddler and Catwoman, to join forces with them in order to kidnap the world’s leaders at the United World Organization’s Security Council (read: UN). They do this by dehydrating all of them into colorful piles of dust. Batman and Robin eventually rehydrate the diplomats, but end up mixing personalities and bodies—nobody notices.
Cue the Joker’s snare drum.
The most perfect casting imaginable to the Boomer generation this side of Harrison Ford as President James Badass, Jack Nicholson was famously tapped for the Joker in Tim Burton’s dark reimagining of the Batman mythos. For its time, Batman was an ambitious blockbuster spectacle, and even today has a unique individual identity stamped on by its director, making it still an aberration in its then-nascent genre. Presumably, casting everyone’s favorite choice for the green haired jester went a long way to giving Burton some latitude.
There were many names who circled the role of the Joker in the run up to Nicholson’s casting, including Brad Dourif (purportedly Burton’s preferred choice), Tim Curry, David Bowie, Willem Dafoe, and most famously Robin Williams. In fact, Williams claimed WB used him as a bargaining chip to get Nicholson’s price down—which must have been substantial since Jack was paid $6 million for playing the Joker (and this is 1988 money, folks), plus a hefty backend on not only Batman but its direct sequels.
Still, Batman co-creator Bob Kane wanted Nicholson, as did the original producer on the project, Michael Uslan (who grabbed up the movie rights for Batman back in 1979). So, this was probably meant to be. Makeup artist Nick Dudman even had an imperative to cook up multiple designs for the Joker’s maniacal grin with the goal of getting one that least disguised Nicholson’s recognizable mug.
One of the coolest movie stars of his generation (albeit he was born before the actual post-war baby boom), Nicholson broke out as both an actor and producer in the late ‘60s with counterculture hits like Easy Rider (he also co-wrote and produced Head, the Monkees’ ill-fated movie). By the time he was squaring off against an encased-in-rubber Michael Keaton, Nicholson had already been nominated for nine Oscars, winning two of them. Most famous then for playing a hardboiled, and ultimately hapless, private eye in Roman Polanski’s neo noir, Chinatown (1974), and the only sane man in a world gone mad in 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nicholson greeted the ‘80s with a string of high-profile villains. These included Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining where Nicholson played an alcoholic author with so much depravity before he goes crazy that Stephen King swore off the whole adaptation. And by the time he was the Joker, he had already played the Devil himself in The Witches of Eastwick (1986).
For the Joker, Nicholson, Burton, and screenwriter Sam Hamm took inspiration from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke where the colorful crook had been a small time hood who had his skin bleached white by a chemical bath. But whereas in the comics, this was possibly a story of tragedy (the Joker freely admits he remembers his origin differently every time), the film definitively veers the Joker in the direction of Chinatown, donning the big bad in fedoras and trench coats even before he went swimming in acid.
With his performance, Nicholson was every bit as anachronistic as Burton and production designer Anton Furst were at reimagining DC Comics’ generic Gotham City as an urban nightmare of Metropolis-esque Art Deco left to rust for 50 years. The very first sentence of the screenplay, after all, is that Gotham City looked “as if hell erupted through the pavement and kept growing.” Similarly, Nicholson’s pre-Joker persona, given the name Jack Napier, is a bit like classic wiseguy gangsters from yesteryear, such as James Cagney in White Heat with a little bit of Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo thrown in, mixed with Nicholson’s showy depiction of deviousness first mastered in The Shining. After finally taking the swan dive in chemicals, Nicholson played the Joker as unabashedly cruel but never anything less than hilarious and even seductively likable.
For modern audiences, Jack’s Joker could be viewed as every bit the showman as Romero, but in 1989, he stunned viewers and gave plenty of children nightmares when he electrocuted some hoods and stabbed others in the neck with pens. In fact, Romero was quite disturbed by the nastiness behind Nicholson’s perma-smile. Something of a performance artist with a predilection toward painting (similar to 1966’s Batman TV show), this Joker fed into the 1980s’ sense of narcissism. Obsessed with money, fame, and fashion, he would go on to kill the vain and vacuous members of society with their own beauty products (a future staple of Burton’s cynicism). And when Batman thwarts that action, the Joker goes on to entice Gothamites that he is a man of the people by flaunting his wealth at a parade… as well as his poisonous Smilex gas.
The very definition of a star vehicle, Nicholson dominates the movie in a performance that not so much sees him submerged in a role, but rather bending a character to fit his mannerisms and style. Still, the case could be made that even with Jack’s signature flourishes—and the bizarre choice of making Joker the murderer of Bruce Wayne’s parents—this is the most comic book-like of the live-action Jokers. He is sadistic, sociopathic, and murderous, but also lighthearted, obsessed with comedy, and beholden to gags, such as acid hidden in his flower-lapel or guns that merely fire “BANG!” flags.
He really was a Jack for all seasons.
Nevertheless, the likely quintessence of what is considered the “comic book Joker” remains in Mark Hamill’s vocal, and seemingly never-ending, performance as “Mistah J.” At this point, Hamill has been playing the Joker almost as long as his other iconic character, a certain farm boy from Tatooine. First appearing as the Joker in Warner Bros. Animation’s masterful Batman: The Animated Series, which ran originally from 1992 to 1995 and then was revitalized in 1997 to 1999, Hamill has voiced the Joker in several straight-to-video animated films, the much more mature (and violent) Arkham video games, and most recently in 2016’s animated adaptation of The Killing Joke.
Yet, only once was he able to bring his chillingly infectious laugh to the big screen with 1993’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Much like the Adam West TV series before it, this film was the by-product of surprise success on the small screen. And for some Batman purists, it remains the benchmark of the Dark Knight’s cinematic adventures, not least of all because of the purple one.
Hamill came into the role after a near decade of frustration following the completion of the Star Wars trilogy. Despite appearing in projects like the World War II drama, The Big Red One, Hamill found Hollywood uneager to hire the typecast thespian. He had better success on Broadway, starring in plays like The Elephant Man and Amadeus, yet he never appeared in the movie adaptations that followed. For example, he lost out on the Mozart role in the latter to Tom Hulce in 1984. By 1990, he was appearing in such unappealing projects as The Flash TV series where he played the Trickster in a costume as unflattering as you’d imagine. Yet, it did lead to him finding his way as a voice actor with what is arguably the greatest American animated series of all-time.
As the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series, Hamill instantly became a celebrated voice talent, developing a cadence and cackle that would still be unrecognizable to Star Wars fans. While in the earliest episodes, the Joker was fairly unthreatening (the series was intended for children), Hamill imbued the character’s inherent playfulness with palpable malice, hinting at darker things than the scripts might allow. His Joker never killed anyone in the show’s original run, but his sinister intent came through all the buffoonish attributes added to the persona. Plus, he is the only Joker on this list who actually can tell some pretty funny jokes… especially of the gallows variety!
After the first season, however, he was allowed to add dimension and danger to his audible alter-ego when the Joker was included in Mask of the Phantasm. Despite mostly focusing on a new villain created for the film, the eponymous Phantasm, as well as the origin of how Bruce Wayne became Batman (recall that Christopher Nolan hadn’t offered his arguably definitive take on the subject yet), the Joker’s sideshow attraction still stole everyone else’s thunder. Influenced by Burton and Furst’s Gotham, the animated version resembled 1939’s World’s Fair in Queens after going the opposite of strong for 50 years. Likewise, this version of the Joker was also a fedora-adorned gangster who marked the wrong chemical factory oh so many years ago.
But unlike Nicholson’s Joker, there are no obvious mannerisms associated with a star highlighted in the animation (apparently, animators took inspiration from Hamill’s physical gestations in the recording booth). In fact, despite being a cartoon, Hamill’s voice alone instills the character with a sense of unpredictable randomness and spontaneous violence. And with the animated film, he was allowed to act on it, driving corrupt politicians crazy, murdering mob bosses, and laughing all the way to hell in his ambiguous and fiery ending.
Much like how The Animated Series introduced the world to Harley Quinn, Hamill has introduced multiple generations now to a Joker who is every bit as conceited and cartoonish as Nicholson’s whimsical mugging. But Hamill’s Joker is so much more happily heinous and unknowable in the way he can either sing or hiss his lines, each with a despondent quality from the other. Watch his above final howl into the flames from Mask of the Phantasm and try not to smile along.
However, no matter how much stock you put in comic book fidelity, there is little debate that Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight transcends its genre. As much as any other legendary turn of villainy in cinema, Ledger’s take on the clown is immortal, and still lingers in the culture to this day.
As the main villain of the second, and ultimately most beloved, part of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, the Joker was long expected to make his return to the big screen before Ledger was even cast. A part that saw actors as varied as Robin Williams (again) and Adrien Brody openly campaigning for it, Nolan apparently always had Ledger in mind, eager to work with the young and gifted actor. He’d even courted Ledger in 2003 in a failed attempt to get him to play Batman in Batman Begins.
Only 28-years-old when he smeared the white pancake powder across his face, the Australian-born Ledger was a classic instance of an immensely talented performer that enjoyed (or suffered through) having a movie star’s good looks. Making the jump to the States at an early age in heartthrob roles like 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), and A Knight’s Tale (2001), Ledger was an instant idol for teen audiences. It was a hat he wore uncomfortably. Soon, however, he was appearing in the kind of roles that fed into his ambitions with projects like Monster’s Ball (2001), Lords of Dogtown (2005), and his rather amusing kinship with the idiosyncratic Terry Gilliam in The Brothers Grimm (2005) and 2008’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (the latter of which would be his last role). Also, he was one of the many actors to take a turn at playing Bob Dylan in I’m Not There.
During this period, he also broke through into the awards circuit with a poignant and surprisingly raw performance as the bitter and closeted gay man, Ennis Del Mar, in Ang Lee’s enduring Brokeback Mountain. He did not win the Oscar that year but he grabbed Hollywood’s attention.
This makes his acceptance of the Joker role all the more perplexing from the outside, especially after Ledger had gone on record saying he was not a fan of most superhero movies. But Nolan wasn’t making just any superhero movie. In the wake of Batman Begins rebranding the Dark Knight as a masked do-gooder for our perilous post-9/11 times, Nolan may have crafted the definitive Bush Years film about the paranoia and despair that crept into American life during the inception of the War on Terror. And he did it all with a man dressed as a bat and another as a clown.
Ledger’s Joker more than simply pulled from comic books from inspiration. While Ledger, on Nolan’s recommendation, read Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke and Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, he also admitted to taking inspiration from the likes of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and the punk rocker turned murderer Sid Vicious (he also likely took some vocal cues from Tom Waits). But by his own admission, he soon went far afield, locking himself in a hotel room for a month honing both a voice that sounded nothing like previous Jokers and a nihilistic psychology singular from any monster ever put on 35mm (or Nolan’s preferred IMAX 70mm alternative). He kept a diary for that month written in the Joker’s hand. It included anecdotes, such as things that would make his Joker laugh—like AIDS and blind babies.
In the finished film, Ledger and Nolan took Alan Moore’s idea of the Joker hellbent on proving a philosophical point-of-view about the meaninglessness of life to its breaking point. This Joker went beyond the realm of comics’ supervillains; he was a demon that appeared out of thin air to test the morals of an ambiguous American society that pretends to have absolute virtue. And more than a madman, he was an extension of Nolan toying with specific Western phobias.
In Batman Begins, Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) was a masked man who lived in the mountains that wanted to destroy an American city. Later in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy’s Bane was a militaristic demagogue who sought to destabilize civilization with explosives and by executing American servicemen in graphic ways. But Joker… he was something else. The lone gunman, the homegrown and unaffiliated psychopath, who, as Michael Caine so dryly extolls, “wants to watch the world burn.”
And he’ll just laugh in your face the harder you hit him to think otherwise.
Ledger embodied that to terrifying effect. Unlike Nicholson, who made the role an extension of his silver screen persona, Ledger disappeared into the character. His Joker was not scarred by chemicals, but from a Glasgow smile carved onto his face. And like The Killing Joke, he has multiple stories about how those scars were earned, each a lie meant to unsettle victims he soon plans to carve equally grisly grins into. Atop that horror show, this anarchist in a purple suit has green hair that’s gone stringy from the accumulated grease of not showering for years. His teeth are as yellow as the school buses he steals, and his makeup his hastily self-applied, burying the actor’s natural good looks under red, white, and crazy.
After his passing, filmmakers have been mum about how Ledger entirely created this beast, but he would apparently play every take differently, and personally filmed the shaky cam terrorist videos the Joker sent out to cable news channels. He was so immersed in his character’s jittery and spastic movements that Nolan chose not to be even in the room when Ledger filmed the Joker’s final video threat to the “bridge and tunnel crowd.”
With a sing-song-y voice that would unexpectedly become guttural, and a posture that hunched forward like he was a man of thrice his age, Ledger created a cinematic ghoul of 21st century America’s greatest anxieties, which all the better fed the formula of a villain that sought to destroy the world not with a MacGuffin or a bomb, but by purely taking a beloved civil servant and pushing him to his breaking point until he snapped. Ledger is unrecognizable in this monumental achievement, both within its genre and in filmmaking itself.
Tragically, Ledger did not live to see the finished film. On Jan. 22, 2008, he died of accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. The actor, suffering from insomnia, sadly mixed too many sleeping pills. A father and still only 28, he did not live to see the Oscar he won for his performance. But he oh, so deserved it. Ledger took comics’ greatest villain and made him just as insidious and inescapable in a medium that has given us Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched, Malcolm McDowell’s Alex DeLarge, Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates, Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, and Darth Vader. His Joker is in that pantheon.
The most recent big screen Joker is one that is as much a departure from Ledger as Ledger was from Nicholson. Every bit resistant to the “classic” iconography of the Crown Prince of Crime as Nolan’s take—perhaps even more so despite having bleached skin—director David Ayer and Jared Leto have created a virile Joker who is excessively fabulous and obsessed with embracing “thug life” stereotypes.
Often described as a marriage of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana from Scarface and James Franco’s dimwitted Alien in Spring Breakers, Leto’s Joker is just as likely to be found making it rain at the nightclub in Suicide Squad as he is in a funhouse.
Ayer’s entire take is about candy colored nihilism masquerading in a superhero origin story’s formula. But in truth, Joker is a supporting player in it since the film marks the long overdue and theatrical debut of Harley Quinn, perfectly embodied by Margot Robbie. Nevertheless, snagging Leto for the role just after he’d won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club was a major “get.”
Leto has been on the movie and music scene for well over 20 years at this point. First coming to prominence for his supporting work in TV’s My So-Called Life with Claire Danes, Leto quickly graduated to major roles in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line (1998), David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), and Darren Aronofsky’s searing Requiem for a Dream (2000). He also has a humorous showdown of sorts with future Batman Christian Bale in 2000’s American Psycho—Bale, in very un-Batman like fashion, plants an axe into Leto’s head. Then again, Ben Affleck’s Batman might be game…
Leto eventually stepped away from acting to focus on his music career, but throughout the last decade has sporadically appeared in films before losing 30 pounds to play an HIV-positive transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club, earning him that aforementioned Academy Award.
As the Joker, Leto may have gone more method than even Ledger. Reports from the very secretive Nolan set suggest that Ledger was not “in-character” between takes, however Leto more than just wanted to be the Joker at all times; he needed his co-stars to treat him as such. For example, during her first day on set, Viola Davis said that Leto had a dead pig dropped on her desk, which scared the hell out of her. Similarly, he sent Margot Robbie, who plays Joker’s lover, a live black rat in a giftwrapped box. He would go on to send her and other cast mates used condoms and anal beads. You know… to get in character? I guess…
Whatever energy it might have created on set, it is somewhat muted in the final film since the Joker is barely in it. Mostly an extraneous subplot as he chases after the titular Squad to get Harley back, the Joker has very little screen time with any of his co-stars besides Robbie. In fact, despite being far more extreme than the comic book or The Animated Seriesversions with his tattoos and metal grills, his Mistah J is also more loving and committed to Harley. Traditionally in the comics, he and Harley are in an abusive relationship with him never caring what happens to her. When she even captures Batman on her own, he famously threw her out a window and put her in a hospital, because only he was allowed to kill the Batman.
But in the film, he desperately seeks to have Harley back. And when he isn’t on the quest, he is hanging out in tuxedos with mobsters and going to strip clubs to collect his 10 percent. Quite honestly, he is the most small-minded Joker ever put to film.
Hopefully, in future movies, Leto will get those tattoos removed and have more to do because he does ooze a certain animalistic energy, sliterthing around the other actors like a shark deciding who to bite.
So that is it for the movie Jokers. Do you have a favorite? A least favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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There's one moment in The Defenders that can only be one thing: a joke referencing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This article contains The Defenders spoilers.
I probably don't have to tell you that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics were a loving send-up of Frank Miller's incredible run on Daredevil, which was in the process of redefining what people expected your average Marvel comic to be in the early 1980s. Miller's work brought elements to Daredevil's world that have become so essential to the entire Marvel Universe that it's difficult to imagine a time before they were an integral part of the mythology. A key part of this is how Daredevil tied in to the great pop culture ninja zeitgeist of the '80s with the introduction of The Hand, the mystical, ancient clan of ninjas, and their sworn enemies, The Chaste, led by mysterious asshole sensei, Stick.
So when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were creating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Daredevil was already an inescapable influence, and there are nods to those comics throughout the earliest TMNT stories. For one thing, the origin story of the Turtles is linked pretty explicitly to Daredevil's. Young Matt Murdock famously put his life in the line when he saved an old man from getting hit by a truck carrying a toxic substance, and that substance ended up blinding him and giving him powers. A nearly identical scene plays out in the TMNT origin...
The similarities don't end there, of course. The Turtles' kindly rat/father/sensei is named Splinter, while Matt Murdock's not-at-all-kindly rat bastard/mentor/sensei is Stick. Daredevil takes on The Hand from his apartment in Hell's Kitchen, while the Turtles do battle with The Foot from their headquarters in the sewers of NYC. You get the idea.
So what the hell does this have to do with The Defenders?
In the fifth episode of The Defenders, as the team makes their escape from a Hand onslaught at the Royal Dragon Chinese restaurant, Stick pulls open a manhole cover and instructs his four heroic charges to escape into...the sewers. "It smells like shit," Stick says in all of his Stick-ness, "but it's our only way out."
So we have an older martial arts master with a wood-themed name telling four heroes that their only hope is in the sewers. This is after four episodes where the heroes are color-coded via both lighting and clothing choices (Matt is red, Iron Fist is green, Luke Cage is yellow, Jessica Jones is purple). When the TMNT made the jump from comics to their first animated series in 1987, their identical red eyemasks (another Daredevil homage) were color-coded to make them more easily distinguishable (Leonardo/blue, Donatello/purple, Michelangelo/orange, while Raphael retained the original red). I'll leave it up to you to decide which Defender fits with which Turtle in terms of personality.
Anyway, I refuse to believe that Stick's sewer escape suggestion (which is never mentioned again) was anything other than an intentional nod to the debt the TMNT owe the comics that spawned him.
One final note, until the Daredevil Netflix series came along and did all this stuff right, you know what the greatest Daredevil cinematic moment was? When Raphael fights an army of Foot Clan ninjas on a New York City rooftop in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which I will defend with my dying breath), that's about as close to the ninja beatdown-fests of the Frank Miller Daredevil comics as we ever had on screen.
Mike Cecchini is serious about that first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Celebrate it with him on Twitter. Criticize it at your peril.
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Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House TV series will star Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino and Michiel Huisman.
The mother of almost all ghost stories is coming to Netflix with a TV series adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, which happens to be one of Stephen King’s favorite books. It was made into a classic piece of early 1960s cinema (and a 1990s remake), and will soon arrive at Netflix in a modernized form.
The Haunting of Hill House will arrive on Netflix in a 10-episode form, written, produced, and directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus, Hush and will adapt King’s Gerald’s Game into a movie. Flanagan will produce with his producing partner Trevor Macy for Amblin TV and Paramount TV.
The Haunting of Hill House Latest News
Timothy Hutton joins The Haunting of Hill House as a lead actor, reports Deadline. While his character was not named, it is believed (but not confirmed,) that Hutton will portray the patriarch of the haunted house-owning Crane family, married to Carla Gugino’s matriarchal character.
Hutton came into prominence early in his career, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1981 for his role in director Robert Redford’s drama Ordinary People. He’s appeared in films such as Taps, Iceman, Made in Heaven, French Kiss, Kinsey, Secret Window and The Good Shepherd. However, later generations know him better as a TV mainstay with notable runs on American Crime and a longtime run as the mastermind of the justice-delivering rogues of Leverage.
The Haunting of Hill House Cast
Michiel Huisman has been tapped to star in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, reports THR. In a revelation that may shed light on the context of this reboot series, Huisman will play a character named Steven Crane, a published author of supernatural-related books and the oldest living sibling of the Crane family. The Netherlands-native is best known for his role on HBO’s Game of Thrones as Daario Naharis. Besides roles in his native country, Huisman was notably seen in recurring roles on Orphan Black, Nashville, Treme, and miniseries Harley and the Davidsons, as well as films such as 2015’s The Age of Adaline and 2017’s The Ottoman Lieutenant. He has quite a full docket of film roles, notably in director Gideon Raff’s historical spy thrillerRed Sea Diving Resort, which stars Chris Evans.
Carla Gugino, who was featured in the films San Andreas, Sin City, American Gangster, Watchmen, Spy Kids and the TV series Wayward Pines, Entourage and Roadie, is the female lead. Gugino recently shot Flanagan’s upcoming feature adaptation of Stephen King’s sadomasochistic game play novel Gerald’s Game for Netflix.
The producers are keeping most of the character information under wraps.
The Haunting of Hill House Story
The Haunting of Hill House has been made into two feature films that carry the shortened title "The Haunting." The first one, released in 1963, was written by Nelson Gidding and directed and produced by Robert Wise. It starred Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Riff from West Side Story, Russ Tamblyn. The 1999 remake from Speed director Jan de Bont and screenwriter David Self – widely considered a dud – starred Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor. The story was also parodied in 2001's Scary Movie 2 and adapted for the stage and performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 2015.
The book centers around Hill House investigators Dr. Montague, who is an occult scholar looking for something more tangible than book smarts; his assistant Theodora; a ghost whisperer named Eleanor, and the young, rich heir who will be stuck with the haunted real estate Luke. They think they’re looking for ghosts, but the house is looking for them.
In Shirley Jackson’s original 1959 novel, as well as the 1963 and 1999 film adaptations – both billed as The Haunting– the legacy of the “Crain” family was connected to the titular haunted house. In the case of the 1999 film, the late Crain patriarch explicitly manifested as a ghost.
Jackson's novel is more of a story of terror than of horror. It ties the events that make for a haunting of a house into the psyches of the people investigating it.
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Normally, paranormal investigators don’t quite have the diabolical fun and frights that find their way into film and TV shots.
“Having done several Paranormal Investigations, I have yet to encounter anything like this,” Brenda Jablonsky, a paranormal investigator from Indiana who will host the upcoming podcast "Crimes Against Spirit," told Den of Geek.
The normal routine for a supernatural sleuth is a lot of hurry up and waiting. That’s not necessarily true for people how live in haunted houses.
"I thought I was buying my wife her dream home,” Philip Siracusa, the author of The Horsefly Chronicles: A Demonic Haunting, told Den of Geek. “I didn't know I was buying my family a nightmare."
The allegedly haunted house in Pennsylvania is said to sit on an desecrated burial ground, and the spirits are still hungry.
"These days when I cook I make one meal for my family, another one for my ancestors and a third one for the Indians," Julia Siracusa, who lived in the house so long she goes by the nickname “the real haunted housewife,” added.
While the Horsefly house hasn’t gotten quite the reputation of the hauntings at the center of films like Poltergeist and The Conjuring, investigators still think twice before knocking three times.
"My friend Juila [Siracusa] invited me to visit her real haunted house and I am such a chicken shit medium that I asked her to check and see if their family ghost/demon said it was okay,” admitted Marie Bargas, a celebrity psychic who was recently tapped to investigate the house.
But what do the strange amateur sleuths think of the film?
“A remake of this movie would be interesting to see a hard to stop watching kind waiting for the next shoe to drop,” said Brenda. “I found the original suspenseful and exciting ,with the technology of today I think it would be a great show to see. As a fan of horror movies it will be a block buster.”
The Haunting of Hill House will be the first time Netflix has worked up a scripted series for Amblin TV. It is the series the rising channel has done for Paramount TV. They previously worked together to bring out 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac, which stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
The Haunting of Hill House is still in the early stages of development.
The long in development Titans live action TV series will premiere in 2018, and Anna Diop will play Starfire.
A few years back, word got around of a Nightwing and the Teen Titans TV series, known simply as Titans, that Warner Bros. Pictures was developing for cable network TNT. Akiva Goldsman wrote a pilot script (we have some details on that here), and things were moving along before the plug was pulled. We figured this project was dead. It turns, out, Warner Bros. was just biding their time. Instead, Titanswill be one of the centerpieces (along with Young Justice Season 3) of a new, subscription digital TV service that will launch in 2018.
Here's the official synopsis for Titans:
Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven, and many others. Titans is a dramatic, live-action adventure series that will explore and celebrate one of the most popular comic book teams ever.
Akiva Goldsman (Underground, the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, and, of course, Batman and Robin) is back as writer, which makes us wonder how much of that original pilot script remains, along with DC President and CCO Geoff Johns, and DC TV guru Greg Berlanti. Goldsman, Johns, Berlanti will be joined by Sarah Schechter (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl) as executive producers of the series from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
No word yet on whether this takes place in the same universe as the other DC superhero TV shows, but given the "multiverse" approach we've seen so far, it's a safe bet.
Anna Diop (24: Legacy) has been cast as Starfire (via Deadline). The TV version of Starfire is "an alien princess from a warrior planet who seeks asylum on Earth. A no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners stranger on our world, Starfire has the ability to shoot energy bolts and fly. Searching for her place on Earth, she’ll come into contact with the Titans."
We think this earlier casting breakdown (see below for details) is also about Starfire...
Casey is a tall, stunning woman, her beauty so magnificent it’s almost inhuman. Elegant, refined and mysterious, she is on the hunt to discover who is trying to kill her and why. And those after her are in for a surprise because she’s more deadly than anyone they’ve ever encountered…
Raven, "the daughter of a demon, is a powerful empath who must keep her emotions in check or risk unleashing her demonic side," is the first member of the team to be cast. Deadline broke the news that 13-year-old Teagan Croft has scored the role.
Here's an earlier casting breakdown for Raven (see below for details) that sheds some more light on what to expect...
Troubled, bullied, often scared but unwilling to show it, Sarah is a loner more comfortable hiding in her hoodie than making friends. Haunted by a dark force inside her, Sarah experiences violent episodes that she cannot understand or control. She is also plagued by recurring nightmares that lead her across the country in search of help.
As far as the roster goes, the "and many others" from that synopsis is worth noting. Goldsman's previous Titans pilot script also included Barbara Gordon and Hawk and Dove. Geoff Johns tweeted that we can expect Beast Boy in the lineup this time, as well, and now there's some evidence for that.
The folks at That Hashtag Show have scored casting breakdowns for the series, which gives us an idea of who will be coming to the party.
The first is "John Crossland" which is totally code for Dick Grayson...
Male, late 20s-early 30s, Caucasian. Equal parts charm and impenetrability, John is a cop. He has a nice smile, tired eyes and a cool, distant manner. However, when provoked, his eyes are so lethal “they drain a man of every last bit of spleen.” John is haunted by the murder of his family. Unbeknownst to those around him, he is also a vigilante. In the shadows, he fights with the commitment and conviction of an artist, the brutal grace of a dancer. Mentally and physically, he is covered in a map of scars. And though he fights to escape his past, it is often a losing battle…SERIES LEAD
And then there's "Jax" who sounds like Beast Boy to us...
Male, Mid-late teens, Open Ethnicity, Asian preferred. Funny and charming, this amateur thief’s humor hides his insecurities and past pain. Not the toughest kid on the streets, he’s learned to survive in the world with his wit and quick-thinking…SERIES REGULAR
We'll update this with more information as it becomes available, but this is very exciting news!
Titans Release Date
All we know is that this is coming in 2018!
We track every DC and Marvel superhero movie release date (and others!) from now until 2020 (!!!) with this handy calendar.
For your reading pleasure and convenience, here's a look at every superhero movie that Warner Bros., Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Sony have planned for about the next half decade or so. We hope your eyes are rested, because this is a long read. Seriously, by the time that you're done this, that Martin scorsese-produced Joker Origin Story will be out.
We've got all of 'em, from Justice League to Avengers: Infinity War, as well as movies you probably never expected to see (we're looking at you, Deadpool 2) and some that may never come to fruition (a Nightwing movie? What a time to be alive!).
Just by way of disclaimer, we've already gone into more detail about each of the respective studios' superhero schedules in other articles. We've got some details here to be sure, but if you want a thorough breakdown of what Warner Bros and DC have to offer, click here.
For the full Marvel studios calendar with details click here.
And our slightly more speculative look at the Fox X-Men/Fantastic Four plans are here.
Now, on with the show!
September 1st, 2017: Inhumans
OK, fine...we're cheating a little bit with this one, too. Inhumanshas long been on the calendar as a film, and at one point it was scheduled for a July 2019 release date. But now Marvel has changed tactics, and they intend to make an InhumansTV series instead. The catch? The first two episodes will be shot in IMAX and premiere in movie theaters several weeks ahead of the show actually appearing on TV. And the cast is looking pretty impressive, too.
If you'd like to know more about The Inhumans, who are admittedly some of the more far-out concepts Marvel offers, we have a guide to their most essential stories right here.
For the record, when folks talk about "Ragnarok" in Norse mythology, it usually isn't a good thing. This should be, by far, the biggest of the Thor films. Taika Waititi directs from a script by Stephany Folsom, Christopher Yost, and Craig Kyle. Expect the usual core cast to return, but with a few twists. Mark Ruffalo will join the party as the Hulk, Cate Blanchett is playing Hela, and Karl Urban is Skurge.
Zack Snyder will direct Justice League, and BvS co-writer Chris Terrio is back. The villain of this one is Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid's relatives, and it focuses on Batman building a team to confront him.
Here's the official synopsis:
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Finally! T'Challa is coming to the big screen, and he'll be played by Chadwick Boseman. He was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and we'll see his first solo adventure in February of 2018.
The Black Panther is a fascinating character, whose exploits can be as high-tech as Iron Man's or as high-adventure as Indiana Jones. We provided a few helpful suggestions for stories Marvel should take a look at for the movie right here.
April 13th, 2018: The New Mutants
Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is directing the New Mutants movie. Boone will also co-write the film with Knate Gawley, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber. This has just entered pre-production.
The New Mutants were the first of Marvel's X-Men spinoffs in the comics, dealing with a younger crop of gifted youngsters as the core X-Men cast expanded and aged. Danielle Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Cannonball, Magik, and Warlock will all be part of the team, making for a more racially diverse cast than we've seen in most X-Men movies so far.
The Russo Bros. will move directly from their directing duties on Captain America: Civil War into this one, which begins shooting in 2016. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are writing.
We expect a trailer to arrive any minute now. Seriously.
Josh Brolin is Cable, John Wick's David Leitch is directing, and Drew Goddard is helping out with the script, too, which is a good thing. It's currently in production, and Ryan Reynolds is promoting the Deadpool franchise has hard has he did in the first time around.
The first Deadpool movie did amazing business in February with an R-rating, so this should really cook with that June release date.
Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne will return, marking the first female superhero to have her name in the title of a Marvel movie. Peyton Reed will return to direct. Best of all? Michelle Pfeiffer will play Janet Van Dyne!
July 27th, 2018: Unknown D.C. Project
This was formerly the date occupied by the Aquaman movie, but that was bumped to December. At this point, with nothing aggressively in production, it's hard to imagine anything actually making this release date. But as far as we know, it hasn't been officially scrapped. The more likely scenario is that Warner Bros. just gives this date to a different, non-DC superhero related blockbuster.
There are conflicting reports about whether or not this will have any ties at all to Spider-Man: Homecoming, let alone the MCU (this one is purely a Sony production). We're only including it here to be on the safe side for now.
Tom Hardy will star as Eddie Brock, and Ruben Fleischer is directing, from a script by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg.
November 2th, 2018: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Little is known about this at the moment but the title sure reveals a lot, doesn't it? This would be the proper X-Men 7 that New Mutants most certainly is not. Simon Kinberg is probably going to direct this one.
While this one isn't technically part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we're including it here for the completists among you. This one comes from the minds behind The LEGO Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are writing and executive producing. Shameik Moore will voice Miles Morales, Liev Schrieber plays a villain, and Mahershala Ali is the voice of Miles' uncle!
No other details are available, but don't expect this to be in continuity with the live action Spidey movies on the schedule.
Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman. There's no doubt that they've been taking Aquaman very seriously. Amber Heard will also appear as Queen Mera. Patrick Wilson is Ocean Master and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is Black Manta.
James Wan (Furious 7) will direct from a script by Kurt Johnstad (300: Rise of an Empire).
Again, we're not sure how Sony's Spider-Man spinoff movies tie into the Marvel Universe, but based on Spider-Man: Homecoming, we're just going to play it safe and include them here.
Gina Prince-Bythewood is directing from a script by Christopher Yost.
Februrary 14th, 2019: Unknown Fox Project
There are several dates schueduled at Fox for unknown Marvel properties. There have been some different films rumored to be in development, but we'll get to those a bit later.
Carol Danvers' origin story would make a fine superhero film. If you're a studio looking to make the leap with a female-fronted superhero film, a character with a power set more impressive than Wonder Woman is just be the one to do it with. This one will take place in the 1990s and feature shape-shifting Marvel aliens the Skrulls as villains. Start your speculation engines!
Nicole Perlman, who famously helped develop Guardians of the Galaxy for the screen, is pairing with Meg LeFauve (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Inside Out) to write the Captain Marvel movie. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are directing.
April 5th, 2019: Shazam
Shazam has both a writer (Henry Gayden, of Earth to Echo fame) and a star (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the villainous Black Adam) announced. Lights Out director David F. Sandberg is directing, although recent talks indicate that Johnson's Black Adam won't be introduced here, and they'll save the big Shazam/Black Adam throwdown for a sequel.
The movie begins production in 2018, so expect more casting announcements shortly, and it's a safe bet to make this 2019 release date.
May 3rd, 2019: Avengers 4
This was originally known as Avengers: Infinity War - Part II, but that has changed. Not much else to report on this one at the moment, but we'll keep you updated.
June 7th, 2019: Unknown Fox Marvel Project
June 14th, 2019: Unknown D.C. Project
This was long ago announced as the Justice League 2 release date, but this is apparently about to change. Director Zack Snyder would like to take on another project, and there are recent indications that Warner Bros is prioritizing the Batman solo movie over this, and that this could end up being that film's date instead.
It's also possible that this could end up being one of the two recently announced Joker-related movies as well, we'll stay on it...
Right after the release of the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel and Sony wasted no time at all in announcing a sequel. We're not complaining.
November 1st, 2019: Untitled DC Film
No information has yet been given as to the story or what characters will be featured in the film. Man of Steel 2 is back in active development at the studio. Could this be it? It's yet another potential landing date for Ben Affleck's Batman solo movie, too. In fact, given that movie's ongoing troubles, this is probably its most likely arrival date.
The truth is that we just don't know what DC has planned for Nov. 2019, so we'll just have to wait and see.
November 22th, 2019: Unknown Fox Project
The most critically acclaimed DCEU movie is definitely getting a sequel. Patty Jenkins will return to direct Wonder Woman 2, which will move Diana's story forward in time...but possibly not too far forward. Expect what might be another adventure set in the past.
February 14th, 2020: Untitled DC Film
We're not quite sure what this one is just yet, but there are a couple of possibilities down below. Either of the above two dates could be good fits for On the other hand, this could also be a good fit for The Flash, Suicide Squad 2, or Nightwing (see below for details on those).
March 13th, 2020: Unknown Fox Marvel Movie
April 3rd, 2020: Cyborg
Ray Fisher made his first (very brief) appearance as Vic Stone/Cyborg in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will clearly have a crucial role to play in both Justice League movies. At one point he was supposed to feature in The Flash solo movie, too.
No other details are presently available, and there are also rumors that this one might be reworked into a movie that would introduce the Teen Titans to the big screen.
May 1st, 2020: Untitled Marvel Movie
June 5th, 2020: Unknown DC Movie
June 26th, 2020: Untitled Fox Marvel Movie
Fairly or unfairly, Green Lantern has the most working against him. The 2011 film failed to kickstart the DC Universe as planned, and received a lukewarm (at best) critical and box-office reception. There are, of course, ways around this.
One way is to simply not make Hal Jordan the central Green Lantern of the movie. This one may focus on as many as three Green Lanterns, with the main focus on a kind of buddy/cop movie with John Stewart and Hal Jordan. David Goyer and Justin Rhodes are writing the script, but there's no director in place yet. Rupert Wyatt may be directing.
August 7th, 2020: Untitled Marvel Movie
October 2nd, 2020: Unknown Fox Marvel Movie
November 6th, 2020: Untitled Marvel Movie
March 5th, 2021: Unknown Fox Marvel Movie
Now, let's get into the projects that are in the works, but don't have release dates yet. We've grouped these roughly in the order we expect to see them based on how far along they are.
After losing two directors/writers in Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) wrote a screenplay, and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) this one needs some work, and potential directors now include Matthew Vaughn and Robert Zemeckis. The latest is that it's being completely rewritten by Joby Harold and it will be based on the Flashpoint story from the comics.
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Madame Bovary) is playing Barry Allen, but probably a very different Barry Allen than the one we currently love on TV. Billy Crudup will play Dr. Henry Allen, with Kiersey Clemons as Iris West.
The Lego Batman movie director Chris McKay has been tapped to direct a Nightwing movie. Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is working on a script. No other details are currently available, and this one doesn't have a release date yet, although there are rumors of a 2019 window. We wrote more about it here.
Joss Whedon will write, direct, and produce a Batgirl movie, one that is reportedly based on Gail Simone's recent New 52 take on the character. We have some more details here, but there's no casting or release date to report yet. This is another one where there are rumors of 2019 in the wind, but don't put any stock in that yet.
Jaume Collet-Serra, who was briefly attached to direct Suicide Squad 2, is now officially off the film. Earlier in July, reports surfaced that Collet-Serra, coming off the 2016 shark survival thriller The Shallows, would occupy the Suicide Squad sequel director's chair first broken in by David Ayer. However, it seems that the power of both Disney and megastar Dwayne Johnson came callling, resulting in Collet-Serra instead being tapped to direct Jungle Cruise. Mel Gibson's name has been floated as a replacement, as well as David Ayer returning to the project now that Gotham City Sirens is rumored to be dead. Who knows who will step up to take on this sequel and when.
Justice League 2
Don't be fooled by the fact that this lost its 2019 release date, Warner Bros. is still planning a second installment, since the first one is bound to make all kinds of bank. Things will stay quiet on this for a few more months.
Shazam doesn't have a star to play its title character yet, but it sure does have a villain. And that villain, who will be played by Dwayne Johnson, is certainly strong enough to sustain his own movie. There's no release date set for the Black Adam movie, and this is the kind of thing that could work as a nifty prequel to set up the mystical world of Shazam if they choose to go that route. We're currently on the lookout for more info.
Joker Origin Story
Virtually every single detail about this story is a little crazy, so stick with it. Warner Bros. is developing a solo movie for The Joker, Batman's greatest villain. Todd Phillips (The Hangover, War Dogs) will direct, and co-write a script with Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter). Fair enough. But this is where things get really interesting. Martin Scorsese is producing. This is to be a Joker origin story, told as "a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era." This movie will feature a different actor in the role, and it's not completely clear whether or not this will officially tie in with the rest of the DCEU continuity. Apparently, Warner Bros. plans to "expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters." This vague description makes it sound like the studio is pursuing a big screen version of DC Comics'"Elseworlds" line.
Joker & Harley Quinn Movie
OK, ready for this? There's another Joker-centric flick in the works this one, a Joker and Harley Quinn movie is absolutely part of the DCEU, and would pick up where Suicide Squad left off. Additionally, The Tracking Board claims that this is replacing the Gotham City Sirens team-up movie directed by David Ayer, which was to feature Harley Quinn and potentially new big screen versions of Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Ayer had hinted that the villain of that flick was Black Mask. If that's the case, it would free up Ayer to return and direct Suicide Squad 2, which has had a hard time locking up a director.
Booster Gold (and maybe Blue Beetle)
Flash and Arrow executive producer Greg Berlanti is going to executive produce and possibly direct a Booster Gold movie. Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class, a recent episode of CW's The Flash TV series) will write the script.
Early reports described this as a "superhero buddy cop movie" that would involve Blue Beetle. We'll get you more updates on this as they become available.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Director James Gunn has long said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will complete the story of Peter Quill and the current team, so it's possible that whatever comes after that film may include Sylvester Stallone and this new band of misfits. “I’m definitely interested in the direction that these characters are headed and their roles in the Marvel Universe," Gunn told The Hollywood Reporter. Don't expect the comic book canon to weigh to heavily on their portrayal, though. For one thing, as originally envisioned, these characters are from 1,000 years in the Marvel Universe's future, and that's not the case here. “That is not something that we’re dealing with. These are older characters and more criminal than our Guardians. So we’re focusing on that," Gunn added. In any event, it doesn't sound like we'll be getting that new lineup until Guardians of the Galaxy 4.
Spider-Man: Homecoming 3
Tom Holland let it slip that his current Spider-Man run is a planned trilogy. After the first film, we want as much time with his version of Spidey as we can get.
With Logan marking the last time Hugh Jackman will play Wolverine, the X-Men films are bound to find themselves in dire need of a new heroic "face of the franchise" some time in the next five years, and Channing Tatum as Gambit might just be the answer.
A proven box-office draw like Tatum playing a sly, shady X-Man might be the way to go. Gambit's complex backstory should provide ample fodder for a solo movie, which will apparently focus less on traditional superheroics and more on his background as a thief. Everyone loves Deadpool, but clearly he (the character, not Ryan Reynolds) doesn't have the leading man looks of a Channing Tatum. Lea Seydoux will likely play opposite Tatum as Bella Donna.
Of course, the big problem here is that Gambit recently lost director Doug Liman, and there is continual chatter that they haven't even gotten the script right yet. Not to mention the fact that they keep moving this troubled project off various release dates. We're sure it will happen eventually, but whether it still involves Liman, Tatum, or Seydoux when it does is another story.
After trusting him to help bring the obscure Marvel character Legion to FX, Fox has tapped Noah Hawley to develop a movie based on Fantastic Four main antagonist Dr. Doom.
The premiere villain in the Marvel pantheon, Dr. Doom was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962’s Fantastic Four#5 and has since gone on to serve as a villainous proving ground for almost every major Marvel superhero.
Jeff Wadlow’s early X-Force draft was met with vocal approval from X-Force co-creator, Rob Liefeld. The above concept art comes from that era of the film's development. The problem is, Mr. Wadlow is no longer involved in this one, but Joe Carnahan just came on board to write a script, and that guy knows action movies.
We're going to first meet Cable in Deadpool 2, which will also introduce Zazie Beetz as another X-Force member, Domino. It's possible that X-Force could essentially function as Deadpool 3 if they decide to pursue the same tone.
Don't expect this one until at least 2019.
There are even more films rumored or gestating at all of these studios, but to read about those potential projects, you'll have to head to each studio's individual calendar. Happy reading!
We'll keep updating this with new information as we get it!
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
With news of not one, but two different Joker movies on the horizon, we celebrate the craziest plans of the Clown Prince of Crime.
He is the greatest villain of them all. He is the evil that tests Batman and makes the hero better. He is an uncontrollable force of chaos, more akin to a hurricane than a criminal, who strikes without warning. He believes that life is a chaotic farce and everything exists as part of a twisted game between him and Batman. He is the star of comics, television, cartoons, and film. He is the Joker, one of the most enduring symbols of evil in the last century.
The Joker is no match for Batman physically, so when he puts one over on the Dark Knight, when he “gets” him, it has to be a masterpiece of chaos and violence. These are just some of the greatest moments when the Joker put one over on his eternal adversary.
10. Death of the Family: The Dinner Scene (2012-2013)
Writer: Scott Snyder Artist: Greg Capullo
Almost Got Him moment: Made Batman believe he skinned his children. And he coulda done it too…
Writer Scott Snyder wrote a Joker for a modern age. He embraced what went on before but really upped the ante in terms of intensity. Snyder’s Joker wore his own severed face as a mask and threatened the sanctity of such long standing but icons like Alfred and James Gordon. It all culminated in a dinner scene at the Batcave as a brainwashed Alfred seemingly serves each member of the Bat family, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Damien Wayne their own severed faces.
The pages read like a fevered nightmare as the Robins and Batgirl all sit starring at their own amputated visages. Staying true to his character, the whole thing was a joke, and the Bat family were unharmed, but their confidence in their mentor and their own safety was shaken forever because of the Joker’s actions.
9. Mad Love (Batman: The Animated Series) 1999: The Slap
Story: Bruce Timm & Paul Dini
Almost Got Him moment: Harley beat Batman, and Joker created Harley. Although Mr. J didn’t quite see it that way.
The final episode of the New Batman Adventures is also its high point. The story deals with the origin of Joker’s moll, Harley Quinn, but it also serves as a reminder of just how all-encompassing the Joker’s twisted ability to manipulate anyone is. It was the first time fans learned that Harley Quinn used to be the Joker’s psychologist, and through sheer charismatic manipulation, he was able to mold her into his own twisted image. He made an educated woman, an expert of the inner workings of the psyche; believe that the world is a meaningless joke. Through the Joker, Harley had become a competent criminal, one who did what even he could not, successfully capture the Batman.
In a moment that transcended traditional animation, the Joker shows just how depraved and selfish a soul he truly is by slapping Harley for making him feel inadequate because she defeated Batman. The whole episode dealt with a broken woman’s devotion to the Joker, and her entire world came crashing down in one moment of shockingly realistic domestic violence.
8. Infinite Crisis “You Didn’t Let the Joker Play” (2006)
Writer: Geoff Johns Artists: Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, and Ivan Reis
Almost Got Him Moment: Joker saves the multiverse, in a way that the Justice League couldn’t. Take that, bats!
Infinite Crisis was a huge, continuity laden epic all boiled down into the essence of a Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman story. It was one of the biggest stories DC had ever attempted and it did shake the very foundation of the DC Universe, but with all the cosmic shenanigans, the story’s finale centered on one sick man, with no powers, forcing his will into the proceedings.
Alexander Luthor, the son of Lex Luthor of Earth 3, is the antagonist and the catalyst of the events of Infinite Crisis. His machinations are godlike as he manipulates multiverses like gears of a clock. Alex Luthor recruited some of Earth’s most dangerous villains to fight his battles against the heroes of the multiverse. Luthor dismissed the Joker as an unpowered wild card, a man who would be difficult to manipulate and useless in a fight against Supermen and Green Lanterns.
The Joker did not appear in any part of the epic, but is revealed by the prime reality’s Lex Luthor at the story’s climax. Joker sprays Alex with his signature acid flower and shoots him in the head, with a smirking Lex, who did not wish to share the villainous spotlight with the younger Luthor, declaring that Alex’s one mistake was he “didn’t let the Joker play.” This moment reveals that it could be a god, monster, or cosmic manipulator, whatever the case; the Joker is still more dangerous with a gag flower and a bullet. Sometimes the universe needs a master of chaos to do the things heroes can’t.
7. Batman: 1966 TV Series: Cesar’s ‘Stache
Almost Got Him Moment: Every death trap, every gag, every cliffhanger. Shoulda taken those utility belts, Cesar.
Sure, the camp vibe from the '60s Batmanseries set comics back a few decades. Even when Watchmenwas being published, the public perception of super-heroes was still “BIFF POW WHAM!” Yet, for many young children of the '70s and '80s, the series was a gateway drug into the world of comics. While Romero camped up some truly ridiculous plots, there was something about his demeanor as the Joker that still strikes a chilling chord. That special way he had of frowning while wearing a painted on smirk, and the white face caked on over Romero’s signature ‘stache gave his Joker a sinister heir that transcended the shows limitations.
For many generations Romero’s performance defined the Clown Prince of Crime. Every time Romero appeared, he and his ‘stache would come within inches of taking out Batman and Robin turning his every appearance into an “almost got him.”
6. Batman #1: The First Appearance (1940)
Almost Got Him Moment: It all began here. Joker committed murder right under Batman’s nose until Batman figured out the eternal game.
By Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, and Bill Finger
Many times, especially in the Golden Age, a character’s first appearance only gives a readers a fraction of an indication of what the character would become. The Joker, being the Joker, defies expectations, and everything a fan needs to know about the character can be found in that first appearance in Batman #1. His use of poison gas, his terrifying penchant for popping up out of nowhere, his need to intellectually challenge Batman, all add up to relatively the same character that exists today.
Based on actor Conrad Veidt in the silent film The Man Who Laughs, the Joker was a rarity for his day, as most villains were used to challenge the hero for one story and then fade away. Not the Joker, who endured, and despite some shifts away from the characters vile roots, he still exists almost identical to his 1940 appearance. This first story is so enduring that Chris Nolan adopted many elements for his first act in The Dark Knight including the unforgettable poison booze glass murder of Commissioner Loeb.
Even in his first appearance, committing crimes right under the Dark Knight’s nose, was a great moment of mastery over Batman.
5. Batman: No Man’s Land: The Murder of Sarah Essen Gordon (1999)
Almost Got Him Moment: In Gotham’s darkest hour, Joker managed to destroy the life of Batman’s best friend.
While Gotham was crippled and cut off from the rest of America’s infrastructure by a massive earthquake, the Joker strikes, kidnapping all the babies of Gotham. The Joker is confronted by James Gordon’s wife, Sarah Essen, and tosses her a helpless infant. When she catches the child, the Joker shoots her between the eyes.
Many people treat the Joker as sort of an anti-hero, the freedom his manic behavior allows him is attractive to many fans, but this moment shows that the Joker is a brutal thug looking to take advantage of a tragedy to suit his own twisted machinations. The Joker took a delight in Gordon’s torment, promising even more pain in the future. The shooting of Sarah Essen, an honest cop and loving wife, stands as a constant reminder of the Joker’s cruelty. Batman’s inability to save his friend’s wife stands as one of Joker’s greatest victories.
4. Batman (1989) “Bob…Gun.”
Almost Got Him Moment: Batman robbed the Joker of his fun, but despite Batman’s careful planning, someone still died.
There are many fantastic moments created by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman. From his fantastic origin sequence in Axis Chemicals, to the murder of his boss, Carl Grissom (played by the great Jack Palance), to his climactic church battle with Batman, but his greatest moment, like all great Joker moments, was random and chaotic.
At the beginning of the film’s third act, the Joker tries to poison Gotham with gas filled balloons, when Batman swoops down in the Batwing and drags the balloons away, the Joker is incredulous. Like a kid who had his favorite toy snatched by a playground bully, the Joker pouts and asks his most loyal henchmen Bob the Goon, for a gun. Bob, ever loyal to his boss, complies and the Joker, without changing expression, shoots Bob in the gut. Batman ruined the Joker’s fun, and someone had to die, even if it was someone loyal and useful to the Joker. Even though Batman seemingly saved Gotham, someone still died, making Batman’s victory incomplete.
3. A Death in the Family (1989) “The Crowbar”
Almost Got Him Moment: He killed Robin. Duh.
By Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, and Mike Decarlo
Yes, it was gimmicky to have fans call a 900 number and decide whether Jason Todd’s version of Robin would live or die. Yes, it robbed the story of any organic creatively, but even the most jaded reader has to admit the death itself remains shocking to this day.
Over the years, the Joker has used many gimmicked gags and traps to take down Batman and his family, but when it came to the moment where the Joker finally was able to kill a Bat Hero, he was just a thug wielding a blunt instrument. It was another reminder of just how dangerous and brutal the sometimes likable clown can be.
Out of Todd’s death, DC was able to ignite literally hundreds of story ideas from the arrival of Tim Drake, to Todd’s resurrection as the Red Hood. From one violent act with a crowbar, the Joker created a legend.
2. The Dark Knight (2008) “The Interrogation Scene”
Almost Got Him Moment: He did what no else could do, made Batman powerless.
One can fill a list of great Joker moments on Heath Ledger’s performance alone, but one stands out above the others. Yes, even above the pencil trick. After the Joker is captured, Batman and Gotham’s Finest believe that the ordeal is finally over, until the Joker turns his trump card, revealing that he kidnapped, not only Gotham’s beloved D.A. Harvey Dent, but Batman’s true love, Rachael Dawes, as well. There is one thing all the crooks and villains had in common in the Nolan Universe; they feared Batman.
Not the Joker.
At this moment in the interrogation room, fans and Batman realized that Batman had no power over the Joker. That the Joker did not care about pain, he couldn’t be intimidated, bribed, or threatened. The more violent Batman became, the funnier the Joker found the situation. This was a new type of villain, one who could not be controlled, a swarm of hungry locusts in a man’s form gleefully destroying everything in his path.
As Batman races to save Rachel and Harvey, with just a few words (and a very well hidden cell phone bomb) the Joker is able to escape police custody. As Batman pounds on the Joker, it becomes clear just what an uncontrollable force the Joker is.
As Rachel burns, the Joker wins.
1. Dark Knight Returns (1986)”The End”
Almost Got Him Moment: In his final moment, the Joker made Batman’s beloved Gotham see their hero as a murderer.
By Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
Nothing defines the relationship between Batman and the Joker, like the proposed final conflict. When Batman returns to Gotham after years of reclusive exile, the Joker awakens from a coma to challenge the Dark Knight. Miller postulates, that without Batman, the Joker would cease to be, only returning when his other half was active. It was their final battle, and a battle in which Joker won. For decades, Batman refused to kill the Joker, but as the Joker snaps his own neck while laughing hysterically, it makes the world believe that one of Earth’s greatest heroes has finally turned murderer.
By destroying Batman as a symbol for justice and turning him into a symbol for selfish vengeance, the Joker turns the public, the government, and even Superman against Batman in the process. The Joker had won his greatest victory.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Participate in the Star Wars Force Friday II "Find the Force" AR experience for a chance to win tickets to the premiere of The Last Jedi!
The Last Jedi will bring audiences a new chapter in the Star Wars saga, along with plenty of new books, comics, merch, and collectables. In fact, this year, Disney is commemorating the launch of a whole slew of Star Wars products on Sept. 1 aka Force Friday II. And on top of all of the new merch, Disney is also launching a new augmented reality experience that will bring fans closer to the galaxy far, far away -- and The Last Jedi premiere in December!
From September 1-3, retailers around the world will invite fans to take part in an AR treasure hunt. Here’s how it works: first, download the Star Wars App (those who already have the app will need to download the latest version). Then, visit any one of 20,000 participating retail locations to find a graphic that contains the "Find the Force" logo.
When you scan the graphic using the Star Wars App, you’ll reveal a character, who through augmented reality, will appear in the room with you. You can then take photos, record videos, and share the experience on social media. Come back each day to reveal new characters (15 in total across the program’s three-day run).
You can find more info on the experience here.
Fans can download the latest version of the Star Wars App (v. 2.3 or higher) beginning Aug. 24 for an early look at the new Porg characters in AR before the AR treasure hunt goes live at retail on Sept. 1.
By sharing photos or videos featuring the in-store AR characters on Twitter or Instagram using #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes throughout Force Friday II weekend, fans in select global markets can participate in a sweepstakes for the chance to win the ultimate fan experience: tickets to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere in December.
“Force Friday II is a major milestone in the countdown to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Star Wars has always championed new technology, and we are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the universe in a whole new way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, in a press release.
More on this as we learn it!
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
JD Payne and Patrick McKay will tell the story behind twilight’s last Gloaming in A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising adaptation.
Star Trek Beyondwriters JD Payne and Patrick McKay will assemble the oral history of the rise of the bloodsuckers. The pair will adapt the novel, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising, by Raymond Villareal for 20th Century Fox and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps.
A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising will be published next summer by Little Brown’s Mulholland Books. It will be the first of four books. It has been compared to Max Brooks’ novel World War Z, the oral history of the zombie apocalypse. 21 Laps nabbed the film rights in February after a heated bidding war. Fox and 21 Laps are hoping to turn the books into a movie franchise.
The novel offers an oral history of the arrival of the Gloamings, a race of vampires who try to co-exist peacefully with people until they get peckish. Described as World War Z with vampires, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising, moves through the CDC discovery of the virus, the formation of the Gloaming Crimes Unit, and the resulting Gloaming Equal Rights Act.
There is no word on whether the movie will be a straight adaptation of the novel or a condensation like the World War Z movie that starred Brad Pitt.
Payne and McKay also wrote the screenplay for Deadliest Warrior for Paramount. They are currently writing the sequel to Star Trek Beyond, which pulled in $343.5 million last year. They will also write the script for Disney’s Jungle Cruise, which will star Dwayne Johnson, and be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.
20th Century Fox executive Michael Ireland will oversee the project. 21 Laps is currently in postproduction on Netflix’s Stranger Things season 2. They are also working on the Lionsgate science fiction thriller Kin, The Darkest Minds for Fox and the independent film Kodachrome.
Everything we know about the second season of The Shannara Chronicles...
The Shannara Chronicles will be moving from MTV to Spike for Season 2. Here's everything we know about the upcoming season...
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Trailer
The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 trailer is here! We're getting some serious The 100 vibes from this thing, which includes glimpses at some important new characters and a very intriguing shot of Amberle falling through the ether (or, you know, Ellcrys). Check it out...
Entertainment Weekly also has some photos from the new season...
Shanara Chronicles Season 2 Release Date
The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 will premiere on Spike on October 11th at 10 p.m. ET.
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Cast
In the first season, The Shannara Chronicles starred Arrow's Manu Bennett, Pan's Labyrinth's Ivana Basquero, The Carrie Diaries' Austin Butler (also know as Thea Queen's DJ assassin boyfriend), and relative newcomer Poppy Drayton. Of course, the fate of Drayton's Amberle was very much in-the-air come the season one finale.
Returning for Season 2 from the original Season 1 cast will be: Austin Butler (Wil), Ivana Baquero (Eretria), Manu Bennett (Allanon), Aaron Jakubenko (Ander) and Marcus Vanco (Bandon).
Speaking to Hypable about her character's arc in Season 2, Baquero said: "I think for Eretria this season is mainly about discovering where she comes from, who she is, who her parents really were, what the tattoo means… There’s a lot of that in this new season."
The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 will pick up a year after the events of Season 1, and finds The Four Lands in chaos, with an organization called The Crimson is intent on hunting down magic users.
Amidst the unrest, Will, still mourning the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical healer destiny. Meanwhile, Bandon has turned super evil and is on a mission to resurrect The Warlock Lord. (No, The Warlock Lord is not a nice guy.)
Hypable caught up with Ivana Baquero (aka Eretria) recently to talk Shannara Chronicles Season 2. Baquero teased: "I can say that Wil is indeed looking for Eretria. So that’s still happening. And we will discover who the person is that she sees down in the tunnels with the Trolls."
More generally, Baquero said of Season 2's structure: "There’s a lot of new evil and new elements coming up. So rather than being one quest and one story, now there’s a lot of storylines trying to contain this evil that’s trying to take over the world. It’s going to be very interesting."
There's a whole host of new characters this season. As Baquero described it: "We've got new girls, new boys… We got Gentry [White,] Malese [Jow,] Vanessa [Morgan]… Obviously, they're great additions. And it;s great to have new people now that we've lost others. So I don’t necessarily feel like I’m the only female lead. There’s a lot of people involved."
Here are all of the new characters to look forward to...
According to MTV News, Malese Jow (The Flash, The Vampire Diaries) has joined the Shannara Chronicles Season 2 cast as Mareth, a "volatile and unpredictable" young woman with magical powers who will help Wil find his way back to his friends and escape The Crimson. "Sharp, brash, and independent to a fault," Mareth knows how to get what she wants.
Also joining the cast is Vanessa Morgan (Finding Carter) as Lyria, a young woman romatically linked to Eretria. Nice to see Eretria getting some love, especially amongst all of the danger and mayhem it sounds like we're in for in Season 2.
Speaking to Hypable about the same sex relationship between Erertia and Lyria, Baquero said:
What I love about the show is that [sexuality] is so natural. It's not even a thing. It's normalized and it's great. I think if anything there would be more of an issue if she were to go out with an Elf, because of the elitism and the difference in class ...
It's not something that is frowned upon by anyone. It's what it is. It's been normalized. I think that's great and I hope it reflects the future in a way. Crossed fingers.
Gentry White (UnReal) will play Garet, the "wise-cracking Weapons Master of the Four Lands." Garet is a bounty hunter, "skilled, sly, and charismatic," it sounds like Garet could add some comedic elements to Season 2.
Caaroline Chikezie (Everly) will play Queen Tamlin, "the powerful and cunning ruler of Leah," and the only human kingdom in The Four Lands. Queen Tamlin is a ruthless weapons manufacturer who uses her royal clout to make a political alliance with the elves. Ambitious lady.
Desmond Chiam (Bones) has been added to the Shannara Chronicles cast as General Riga, the leader of the extremist soldier group The Crimson. On a mission to wipe out all magic in the Four Lands, Rigam used to be a top dog in Eventine's army, but has had a major change of heart after watching his people slaughtered in the War of the Races and fighting the Dagda Mor in the War of the Forbidding. This guy does not like magic.
Will Amberle Be Back in Shannara Chronicles Season 2?
You may have noticed that Drayton's Amberle isn't on that cast list, but we're not ready to give up hope on her character's non-tree-form return just yet... especially because there is a sneak peek of the character in the new trailer.
Speaking to SciFiNow about the possible return of Amberle, Brooks teased:
Yeah, actually, although you might wonder how, and I won’t tell you, but we gave some serious thought to that, and there was a lot of talk about bringing her back out of the tree and so forth, but I said 'No, she’s a tree [laughs], you can’t bring her back, that’s terrible storytelling, you have to find a different way.' So then I told them how they could do it, so we’ll see.
But yeah, I think she’s signed on for another season or so, and she’ll back for that. I know that she probably wishes she’d gotten a different role, because she really liked the series, but her life was finite in that particular storyline.
More recently, Brooks told Just Jared Jr. about a possible Amberle (or at least Poppy Drayton) return:
I will say that once a chosen becomes the ellcrys tree, they are always the tree. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens...
Brooks also spoke about what season 2 might look like, particularly if the season will pick up where season 1 ends versus jumping ahead to the events of The Wishsong of Shannara...
This is an interesting debate that’s ongoing. When I first saw this I thought, 'Well, we should just move on and do a whole new season that involves the next book and forget about this season.' But of course MTV said, 'Are you crazy? We’re building fan support for these actors, we can’t boot them out of there and bring all-new people in!' And I said, 'Well, they could be the same characters, just the children or whatever…' that didn’t work.
It became clear that they were going to build the story around the actors they have right now, and that was going to be the thrust of the story no matter what. But they are free to remove elements from other books, and I think they will do that. They’ve already been talking about Wishsong and using bits and pieces or large chunks of that storyline and building around the characters they already have, which isn’t too difficult to do. So that’s what they will do. What shows tend to do when adapting books is do the first season and then go off in different directions, so I forsee my duty as being to help them get there in the best way possible.
— Shannara on MTV (@Shannara) April 20, 2016
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Synopsis
MTV also released an official synopsis for the new season of The Shannara Chronicles...
A year after the events of last season, The Four Lands is in chaos. The re-emergence of magic has the populace terrified, and an organization called The Crimson is hunting down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord among the races.
Wil, scarred by the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical destiny to become a healer. But when a mysterious woman named Mareth saves Wil from a Crimson attack, he is forced to rejoin the fight.
After reuniting with Eretria, Wil and Mareth seek out Allanon, only to learn that the Druid’s former protégé, Bandon, is on a mission to resurrect a creature of darkest evil: The Warlock Lord. Together, our heroes must band together to take down The Crimson and prevent Bandon from unleashing an even greater threat upon the Four Lands, before it’s too late.
Though we'll have to wait until October to see the new episodes on their new home, the show has officially finished filming it second season in New Zealand...
The Tick, out now on Amazon Prime Video, is huge fun. Here's how the show achieves what its creator envisioned 21 years ago...
In 1994, I was about to be a freshman in high school. Despite being “too old” for cartoons, there wasn’t really anything else on television on Saturday mornings while I was waiting for wrestling to show up on my television screen. I remember most of the cartoons I saw only in the vaguest terms: the creepy face of Louie Anderson’s gargoyle animated child or a screaming purple cat. I know the name of both shows because I looked them up prior to writing this article, but I couldn’t tell you anything about them. However, one show I watched regularly in the mid to late '90s stuck with me well into adulthood, and that’s the 1994-96 animated version of The Tick.
Some of the things said in The Tick have stuck with me for my entire adult life. “Spoon!” and “Not in the face!” were my macro battle cries in World of Warcraft. I have vivid memories of Chairface Chippendale—a supervillain with a chair for a head for some reason—and Sarcarstro (sarcastic Castro, obviously). Die Fledermaus made me research the actual German opera. Sewer Urchin and American Maid were just amusing. But at the centrepiece of the whole thing were The Tick and Arthur.
The Tick’s origin story is befitting any superhero. He’s changed various times according to the media telling the story, but the fictional backstory of the character isn’t quite as interesting as the actual backdrop to the character’s creation.
In 1986, 18-year-old Ben Edlund created a mascot for a Massachusetts comic book store chain called New England Comics. The Tick, then in black and white, started out as just a character for a newsletter, but over time, small stories began to feature The Tick, growing to three-page spreads and, eventually, a stand-alone black-and-white comic book paid for by New England Comics. The Tick proved so successful that the initial Tick stories were reprinted nine times in the decade following the character’s debut, each time with new material added to the story. While attending MassArt, Edlund created a whole other litany of strange characters with names like Paul the Samurai, Chainsaw Vigilante, Man-Eating Cow, and of course, Arthur, the flying accountant who made his debut in Tick #4.
Not bad for a character that started his comic book life as an escaped mental patient whose main powers are optimism, child-like enthusiasm, gigantic size, and nigh-indestructability. The Tick was comic books turned surreal, with the lead character spouting incomprehensible “speeches” and besting “supervillains” with the help of “super friends” who were all dumbed-down parodies of existing superhero properties with more adult humor and situations than your standard DC or Marvel cape. It was weird, and it was popular.
The Tick and his low-rent friends were turned into an animated television show in 1994 by Fox. A similar independent comic book that satirised comic books had been turned in to a wildly successful cartoon series and toy line not too long before. Perhaps you’re familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Inspired by the Turtles, Sunbow Entertainment paired Edlund with a writer to crank out a pilot script that Fox promptly rejected. Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith (assigned to the project by Sunbow) rewrote the pilot in five sleepless days and got their show picked up. Joining the writing staff at that time was Christopher McCullough, who had worked on Tick comic scripts with Edlund and who would later go on to become one of the creators of the masterful '60s adventure cartoon pastiche The Venture Brothers (another favorite of mine).
From this five-day wonder of a script would come the first season of The Tick, which was a critical success but never quite spawned the toy line Fox and Sunbow were dreaming about. Still, The Tick lasted three seasons on Fox, and was picked up in syndication by Comedy Central, which helped the show find an older audience than Saturday mornings typically offered. The Tick’s voice cast was a who’s-who of cartoon voices, which no doubt helped the show find its feet. The Tick was voiced by the legendary Townsend Coleman (Michelangelo from the Ninja Turtles), with Rob Paulsen (Raphael in the original TNMT, Donatello in the current series) taking over from Mickey Dolenz as Arthur in the second season. Cam Clarke (Leonardo) features as Tick ally Die Fledermaus. Jess “Wakko Warner” Harnell was Sewer Urchin and personal favourite Human Bullet (whose power basically involves loading himself into a cannon and firing himself at The City blindly), and Kay Lenz played American Maid. Filling out the rogue’s gallery are legends like Charlie “Buster Bunny” Adler, Jeff “Johnny Bravo” Bennett, Pat Fraley (59 different TMNT characters alone), Jennifer Hale, Brad Garrett, Dorian Harewood, Zander Berkeley, Dan Castellaneta, Mark Hamill, Tony Jay, Maurice LaMarche (as the incredible The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight), Bobcat Goldthwait, Tress MacNeille, Roddy McDowall, Laraine Newman, Pat Musick, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Mark Hamill.
A loaded voice cast like that would no doubt help any show continue on long past its cancellation date, and after the success of The Tick in syndication, Fox had the idea to bring the show back as a live-action sitcom with an equally star-studded cast. 2001’s live-action The Tick featured Patrick Warburton—as good a live-action Tick as you could get in 2001—in the big blue suit and David Burke donning the bunny/moth outfit as Arthur. Rounding out the featured players were Liz Vassey as Liberty Maid and the brilliant Nestor Carbonell as Batmanuel. American Maid and Die Fledermaus were owned by Disney were unavailable due to licensing issues, to Ben Edlund took his parodies of Wonder Woman and Batman and made parodies of those parodies.
The show restored a lot of the comic book’s more adult humor, and essentially eliminated action scenes to try for a more sitcom vibe. Going for it were strong backers in director Barry Sonnenfeld (riding high after Men In Black) and producer Larry Charles, fresh off Seinfeld and Mad About You. You’d think backing like that would mean Fox would open the purse for The Tick, but alas, that was not the case. After all, this is Fox we’re talking about, who have a checkered history where their more interesting properties are concerned. Even with The Tick being a costumed sitcom, it was still a little too much for Fox to feel comfortable with.
The Tick suffered budget problems almost immediately, as months would pass between the filming of individual episodes due to a lack of funding from the parent network. Fox didn’t own the show, and as such, didn’t really put a lot of promotional muscle behind it. Fearing a writers' strike and bolstered by the show’s initial success, The Tick was put in competition with two TV juggernauts, NBC’s Must-See TV lineup that Charles helped create and the immortal reality TV juggernaut Survivor. Eight of the nine episodes aired, and The Tickwas put out to pasture by Fox. The show remained a cult favourite, and DVD sales did well, but following the live-action death of the big blue bug, the property went into stasis. The popular critical opinion at the time was that the show was simply too good to last. Cast and crew all look back fondly on it, with Patrick Warburton having taken one of the Tick suits from the production, Nestor Carbonell calling it one of his favourite projects, and Barry Sonnenfeld calling the Tick’s pilot the best thing he’s ever directed.
A good property will never go away. Ben Edlund kept busy working on shows like Angel and Firefly with occasional collaborator Joss Whedon and The Venture Brothers with McCullough and Doc Hammer, but The Tick has stayed in the public consciousness for three decades because as super hero movies get bigger and more explosive, there’s a market for someone to show up and have a little fun with the concept again. The '80s were the decade of Superman, the early 2000s were the turf of Batman, and in the Marvel world we live in, why not bring The Tick back once again? This time, Amazon has picked up the cult series (no doubt spurred by Tick DVD sales throughout the years) and is giving The Tick another shot at critical and commercial success.
Admittedly, the third go-round at telling the story of The Tick leans heavily on familiar names and faces behind the scenes. Patrick Warburton isn’t in the suit, but he is a producer along with current Tick Peter Serafinowicz. Executive producers of the 2001 Tick, Barry Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld, are back behind the scenes of this Tick in the same role. Unsurprisingly, Ben Edlund has had a great deal of contribution to the show, both as a producer and as a writer. Even Colleen Atwood, four-time Oscar-winning costume designer, is back to do the show’s updated version of The Tick’s blue super suit/body, but most of the elements in front of the camera have been refreshed.
Arthur (Griffin Newman) is traditionally depicted as a sort of rabbit/moth hybrid to much comic confusion, looks a little bit less like a pair of coveralls with bunny ears. It looks familiar—you can tell it’s Arthur—but the ears have been replaced by feathers and look much more moth-like; Arthur’s suit also looks significantly more like tactical material. The Tick still has moving antennae, but his outfit is a little less shiny blue plastic this time around, going for something that looks a little more protective, like plate armour, rather than vanity molding ab muscles or the more organic look of the pilot episode. Side characters are an interesting assortment of looks and feels. Some, like Overkill (Scott Speiser), would fit into the dark-and-gritty DC universe. Others, like Ramses (Michael Cerveris) and the Eye Of Horus gang, would be at home on the Adam West Batman series. Ms. Lint (Yara Martinez) and Arthur's sister Dot (Valorie Curry) fall somewhere in Marvel Cinematic Universe territory. Dangerboat (Alan Tudyk) is pure 80s cheese (and perhaps a bonus Simpsons reference).
Arthur’s change isn’t simply in costume, but in character. He’s still an accountant, but he’s also now the main character of the show. The Tick is obviously highly involved, but the first six episodes lean more on Arthur’s life and his slow introduction into the world of being an official AEGIS-registered superhero rather than just a traumatized conspiracy theorist who alternates between boring office job and newspaper-and-string amateur investigator. In that way, he’s a solid introduction into a new world, filling in the back-story of The Terror (a brilliant Jackie Earle Haley) and giving The Tick a world-class straight-man to bounce his big heroic speeches and amusingly off-beat comments against.
Amazon’s The Tick, at its core, remains what Ben Edlund envisioned 21 years ago. It’s a satire of superhero stories. As such, every superhero iteration finds itself poked, gently or not, by the writing staff (which has a ton of Joss Whedon connections). The way a character looks tends to influence how they’re played and what they’re satirising. It seems nothing avoids mockery, right down to the fact that the mob doctor’s assistant Dot is recognized by the very thugs menacing her when she’s around Arthur. Dangerboat and Overkill have a very Odd Couple relationship, assuming Felix lived inside Oscar and Oscar was a talking crime-fighting boat. The episodes are rich with one-liners and witty visual jokes; I can’t think of a single episode that I saw that didn’t make me laugh out loud at least once, and I watched them by myself with headphones on.
In the episodes previewed, the character relationships drove a lot of the humour, as should be the case. The 2001 show and the cartoon both made a lot of hay out of suits in domestic situations, and this show is no exception. The relationship between The Tick and Arthur is really funny, and pleasantly warm, with Tick actively trying to bolster Arthur’s fragile ego. Arthur and Dot have a solid family relationship; she’s the sister taking care of her brother, until it’s time for the brother to take care of his sister. Ms. Lint’s relationships with The Terror and her scenes with her ex-husband (who she lives with in a shared apartment) are also a surprising amount of fun. Seeing domestic drama between a supervillain with electricity powers and a guy in a tie-dyed shirt rocking out to 311 is just really odd in a clever sort of way, as is the mentor/mentee relationship established between Ms. Lint and The Terror.
Arthur might be the show’s lead character, but The Tick is still The Tick, and he’s still the show’s heart and soul. Peter Serafinowicz is brilliant in the role. Not as bulky as Patrick Warburton, but he’s tall and looks great in the suit. More importantly, he’s able to sell The Tick’s unique combination of child-like wonder and bluster without it feeling overly silly. The Tick believes his nonsense wholeheartedly, and Serafinowicz sells that easily thanks to his expressive eyes and his skill as a voice-over artist filling in the gaps where facial expressions are limited thanks to his mask.
Even when The Tick isn’t the focus in a scene, he’s a joy to watch because he’s always got something going on without trying to steal focus away from the foreground. He’s just a really fascinating character and naturally captivating; once upon a time, Ben Edlund changed The Tick’s costume to blue rather than brown because it looked better in print, and this holds true on film. He’s the most super of the introduced superheroes, save faux-Superman Superian (Brendan Hines), with the grin to match his strength.
One of The Tick’s favorite utterances, when confronted by some bit of science that he doesn’t understand, is “Neat.” The Tick, chums, is neat. Whether it’s going for something small or something big and broad, The Tick packs a comedy punch almost as strong as the titular character. The Tick is great in doses small or big, and there’s enough compelling characters around him to keep the show fresh and interesting through the first six episodes without it being a one-man operation. I have no doubt that the back half, and hopefully future seasons, will be just as good.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
What should have been Batman 3 became Batman Forever, and it happened without Tim Burton and Michael Keaton. Here's why.
Nowadays with no shortage of cape-and-cowl movies being released each year, it’s easy to take for granted what filmmakers like Richard Donner and Tim Burton did for the superhero genre. Prior to their decade-apart DC superhero epics, the form was largely viewed by the mainstream as stuff meant to distract the little ones and shut-ins. This seemed especially true for Batman.
But if Donner made people believe a man could fly, Burton made them believe he could also be psychotic enough to dress up like a bat and beat up crazed clowns. Batman was more than a hit movie in 1989; it was a pop culture phenomenon that could be felt on every T-shirt, poster, and trading card being hawked that summer. As the film that buried the Adam West image of the Caped Crusader, Batman proved to a global audience that the story of Bruce Wayne could be one filled with brooding trauma and fanciful daydreams that crept into our nightmares. It out-grossed Ghostbusters II and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that summer, and went on to be the highest grossing film of all-time up to that point with over $400 million worldwide.
It's no surprise then that Warner Bros. fast-tracked a sequel (putting Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian on permanent vacation), and the dream team of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton were back for more with 1992’s Batman Returns. That movie was a saturating force in pop culture as well, appearing on lunchboxes, backpacks, and, of course, McDonald’s Happy Meals. It also grossed an undeniably profitable $266 million in worldwide box office receipts. Nevertheless, the hue of Batman’s signal in the sky experienced substantial and immediate changes.
Within the relatively short span of three years, which marked the distance between Batman Returns and Batman Forever, the series not only underwent a facelift, but had a full-on reboot before the word even existed in Hollywood lexicon. Michael Keaton became Val Kilmer, the Art Deco hellscape that was Anton Furst and Bo Welch’s Gotham City became an Andy Warhol inspired Las Vegas party on steroids, and Tim Burton’s tearful angst for the mythology’s rotating cast of freaks turned into Joel Schumacher‘s “toyetic” Happy Meal generator.
In fact, if it weren’t for the inclusions of Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth and Pat Hingle as the perpetually underused Commissioner Gordon, there would be nothing to connect Batman Forever with the two films that came before it. And that is exactly the way Warner Bros. wanted it.
Tim Burton’s Batman 3never happened because of the reaction to Batman Returns, which was swift and brutal throughout the press.
The screenwriter of Batman Returns, Daniel Waters said he was aware of the potential backlash immediately. As a subversive voice who made his bones on the cult classic dark comedy about teen murder and suicide, Heathers, Waters was one of the driving forces that turned the sequel into a near fable about the sameness of freaks, be they cats or bats. And when recalling the first time he saw the movie with an average audience (for the 2005 documentary Shadow of the Bat – Part 4: Dark Side of the Knight), Waters said, “It’s great. The lights are coming up after Batman Returns, and it’s like kids crying, people acting like they’ve been punched in the stomach, and like they’ve been mugged. Part of me relished that reaction, and part of me to this day is like, ‘Oops.’”
For the same documentary, director Burton also seemed bemused and baffled by the mixed reactions 13 years later. Says Burton, “One person would come in and go, ‘This is so much lighter than the first movie.’ And then the next person would come in and go, ‘Oh, this is so much darker than the first movie.’ And it’s like, light and dark are opposites! But it was 50 percent passionately one way and 50 percent the other.”
The most infamous fallout from this bitter buzz came on the merchandizing side of Batman Returns, which like the box office took a noticeable hit. But the financials were the least of it when the PR for WB’s bat-shaped golden calf became factored in. And it started with those damn Happy Meals.
Batman Returns opened on June 19, 1992 and before the Fourth of July weekend, The Los Angeles Times was famously publishing angry letters over the content of the film and its connection to McDonald’s. One angry letter dated June 27, 1992 said, “Violence-loving adults may enjoy this film. But why on Earth is McDonald’s pushing this exploitative movie through the sales of its so-called ‘Happy Meals?’ Has McDonald’s no conscience?”
Putting such irony over faith in an international corporate conglomerate responsible for the McNugget aside for a moment, the backlash to the Happy Meals soon spanned all major media outlets.
An Entertainment Weekly article published in July of that year quoted the Dove Foundation, a Michigan-based nonsectarian Christian organization, as saying, “Parents…trust McDonald’s. So why is McDonald’s promoting a movie to little kids that’s filled with gratuitous graphic violence?”
The most humorous thing about this public relations nightmare was how both McDonald’s and Warner Bros. attempted to downplay the fiasco.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Rebecca Caruso said, “The objective of the [Happy Meal] program was to allow young people to experience the fun of Batman the character. It was not designed to promote attendance at the movie. It was certainly not our intent to confuse parents or disappoint children.”
A Warner Bros. press release one-upped that by stating that the promotion is tied to the then-53-year-old character and not Batman Returns. “We were careful not to provide actual toys from the movie,” the statement read.
Judge for yourself by watching some of the vintage 1992 McDonald’s commercials for Batman Returns by clicking right here. Also, savor the following line for the Batman Returns themed cups: “With five Frisbee Bat-disc lids straight from the movie.”
For whatever it’s worth, McDonald’s did not pull the Happy Meal line early despite recent internet rumors, and maintained them until Sept. 7, 1992. However, discomfort over this reaction may have led to McDonald’s reportedly asking Steven Spielberg to tone down the most violent sequences of the following summer’s Jurassic Park in time for fast food tie-in deals.
Many years later for the aforementioned 2005 Shadows of the Bat documentary, scripter Sam Hamm, whose own screenplay for Batman Returns got thrown out for Waters’ work, graciously defended the movie from aggrieved parents. “The movie itself, apart from being a merchandizing machine, apart from all the toys sales it was supposed to generate, the movie itself was never presented as a child-friendly movie. And so, I just think it’s a mistake of perception. I think the parents who complained just got it wrong, but there was no attempt to deceive anyone.”
Be that as it may, it did not mean heads weren’t ready to roll at Warner Bros. As early as late July 1992, WB executives were allowing themselves to be anonymously quoted as unhappy with the diminished box office performance of Batman Returns, which cost $45 million more to make than the 1989 film (that cost $35 million unto itself).
“It’s too dark [and] it’s not a lot of fun,” one WB suit lamented to Entertainment Weekly. Meanwhile, smelling blood in the water, a rival studio chief said to the magazine, “If you bring back Burton and Keaton, you’re stuck with their vision. You can’t expect Honey, I Shrunk the Batman.”
Obviously, for any Batman fan over eight-years-old, it’s fabulous to hear what the industry perception of the character was even after Tim Burton’s two brooding flirtations with German Expressionism in gaudy costumes.
Initially Tim Burton was still expected to return to what was being called “Batman III” in the trades. There were even reports that Robin Williams was expected to play the Riddler for Burton’s third Batman film (more on that in a moment), as well as a return for Michelle Pfeiffer in her iconic role as Catwoman. However, all of these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt since Burton never made it to the scripting stage for Batman 3.
In the Shadows of the Batdocumentary, Burton recollected his exit from the franchise.
“I remember toying with the idea of doing another one. And I remember going into Warner Bros. and having a meeting. And I’m going, ‘I could do this or we could do that.’ And they go like, ‘Tim, don’t you want to do a smaller movie now? Just something that’s more [you]?’ About half an hour into the meeting, I go, ‘You don’t want me to make another one, do you?’ And they go, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no!’ And I just said, ‘No, I know you!’ So, we just stopped it right there.”
And with Tim Burton out, Warner Bros. was free to tap Joel Schumacher to helm the next Batman movie with the understanding that it would be much more toy (and Happy Meal) friendly. For the children and their parents. Of course.
However, Michael Keaton did not leave immediately with Tim Burton. Indeed, he was slated to return to what became Batman Forever rather late into its 1994 production. And yes, Robin Williams, who was famously shafted by WB when they used him as a negotiating chip against Jack Nicholson for the role of the Joker in the 1989 film, was in line to play the Riddler going into 1994. According to a 1995 Variety article, Williams dithered too long after the role was offered, and rising star Jim Carrey (coming off Ace Ventura and The Mask) “stepped into the role.” It has never been clarified if Williams disliked the script and direction Schumacher was developing or if Carrey and his agent pulled one over on the legendary actor, but quite honestly, Mr. Williams’ legacy probably benefitted from it.
Also of note for not appearing in Batman Forever were actors Billy Dee Williams and Marlon Wayans. Williams had famously been cast as Harvey Dent in the original 1989 Batman film with the expectation to play Dent’s twisted and tragic alter-ego, Two-Face, in a later installment. On the 2005 DVD edition of Batman, Williams said, “I really wanted desperately to obviously do Two-Face… I wanted to see what I could do with it. It would have been different from Tommy Lee’s. I’ve got my own kind of madness.”
This led to an internet rumor that Williams was paid for the part in Batman Forever due to his 1988 contract. Williams has recently denied this. Comicbook.com quoted Williams from a Nashville Comic Con in 2013 as saying, “You only get paid if you do the movie. I had a two-picture deal with Star Wars. They paid me for that. But I only had a one-picture deal for Batman.”
However, Wayans did get paid for not appearing in Batman Forever. Having originally been cast by Burton to appear as Robin in Batman Returns, Wayans was cut from an already crowded film. However, when Schumacher came in for the third Batman movie, the decision came down for Robin to be played by Chris O’Donnell, despite Wayans already having a two-picture deal. In 2009, Wayans told io9, “I still get residual checks. Tim Burton didn’t wind up doing three, Joel Schumacher did it and he had a different vision for who Robin was. So, he hired Chris O’Donnell.” And like that, there coincidentally were no more major parts played by African Americans in the Batman franchise.
Keaton, meanwhile, famously threw the movie into upheaval when he departed Batman Forever less than a year before its release. In a July 1994 Entertainment Weekly article, an “insider” said, “He wanted $15 million. He wanted a chunk of the gross, he wanted a chunk of merchandizing.” While possible, this seems like typical studio tactics of throwing shade on an individual during a messy break-up. Keaton’s producing partner, Harry Colomby, countered, “Money was never the issue. Not doing this movie means he probably gave up $30 million based on his back-end deal.”
According to EW, Keaton was unhappy that Schumacher replaced his pal Tim Burton. Further, “[After one meeting with Schumacher] Michael was not feeling confident.” He reportedly disliked that his input about making it more of Batman’s story (as opposed to the villains’) had been ignored, and that he was not consulted once during the script writing.
During his appearance on a 2013 WTF Podcast with comedian Marc Maron, Keaton maintained his position nearly 20 years later. “The guy who’s doing them now, Chris Nolan, he’s so talented, it’s crazy,” Keaton said. “[Christian Bale] is so talented. It’s so good….You look at where he went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. I said, ‘You want to see how this guy started. We’ve got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant!’” Keaton added that after Burton left and Schumacher came aboard, “I could see that was going south.”
After Keaton departed, Rene Russo, who was cast only one week prior to Keaton’s exit, was replaced with Nicole Kidman in the role of Dr. Chase Meridian, because she was perceived as too old to be Val Kilmer’s love interest.
The rest, as they say, is history. But perhaps it was for the best? A third Tim Burton Batman movie could, in theory, have starred Robin Williams in a role just as depraved as Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Danny DeVito’s Penguin, and opposite a returning Pfeiffer who’s so puuurfect for the part of Catwoman that I couldn’t resist the pun. Maybe Keaton would have had more to do, as well.
Then again, if not for Batman Forever’s successor, the infamous Batman & Robin mega-flop, the series would not have so embarrassingly and spectacularly imploded. Ergo, there might not have been something brilliant but dormant for Christopher Nolan to reboot in 2005 into the masterful The Dark Knight Trilogy. In that sense, it may have been for the best. But it never hurts to wonder in lieu of a neon-backlit Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones doing a Benny Hill routine.
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This article first ran in September of 2014.
The CW will, again, unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow in fall 2017.
The CW is planning another epic DC superheroes crossover event for 2017. Here's everything you need to know about The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow crossover event...
CW DC Superhero Crossover Trailer
We may not have an official trailer for the crossover event, but we do have a look at a mini-crossover happening between a member of The Flash cast and a member of the Legends cast.
The new general CW DC TV promo, just released, includes a bit of crossover footage — aka a cute, funny moment between Wally and Nate.
Check it out...
CW DC Superhero Crossover Release Date
While plot details of the 2017 crossover are still being kept a secret, we now know when to expect the television event.
Supergirl will kick off the crossover on Monday, November 27 at 8 p.m.
Arrow will then be passed the baton later that night (on a special, non-timeslot airing,) on Monday, November 27 at 9 p.m.
The Flash continues pushing the storyline in the Speed Force on Tuesday, November 28 at 8 p.m.
Legends of Tomorrow will host the culminating chapter that same night on Tuesday, November 28 at 9 p.m.
This schedule represents some changes from last year’s “Invasion!” crossover, which conformed to The CW’s 2016-2017 schedule, which had Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow on a four-night, Monday-Thursday configuration. This consolidation of the crossover into a two-night event may be designed to remedy the ratings disparities in last year’s event, which saw an odd drop-off in its climactic chapter in Legends of Tomorrow. Indeed, despite the 2016 crossover’s overall uptick, a good portion of the audience did not stick around for the conclusion; something The CW does not wish to repeat.
Yet, this year's two-night approach is still very much a scheduling experiment. As The CW president Mark Pedowitz explains in a statement on the strategy:
"We felt that, in this particular case, we already had Flash and Legends paired. It would be better and tighter in terms of storytelling to make it like a two-night, two-hour miniseries. We thought this was a tight, concise way of doing it. Next year, we may go back to four nights.”
CW DC Superhero Crossover Story
One notable detail about the 2017 crossover is that it will likely be the first true four-way crossover event. While last year’s “Invasion!” did span all four CW series, the storyline’s kickoff on Supergirl manifested simply as a teaser at the end of the episode; one that was recapped in the second part on The Flash, rendering the Supergirl portion as pointless. Additionally, while Black Lightningis set to debut in The CW’s cavalcade of DC Comics stars this season, it is unlikely that the electricity-wielding hero will be taking part in the 2017 crossover and that series will, for now, remain a separate superhero offshoot. However, it’s still early enough for plans to change.
With that, fans, especially of the comic-book-savvy variety, are left to speculate on what DC Comics-inspired storyline (if any,) the 2017 crossover could adapt. While speculation for last year’s crossover plot was wild, very few predicted that it would adapt Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo’s obscure and forgotten 1988-1989 Invasion! DC comic book crossover. Will they go the obscure route again? Will it be something major, like the time-bending 1994 comic book event Zero Hour? Or, will Flash actor Grant Gustin's recent comment about wanting to adapt 1985-1986's monumental Crisis on Infinite Earths story come to fruition earlier than he hinted?
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The next chapter in the hit Black Mask series is out in November.
Having just wrapped its first arc,BLACK, the series by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3, had a surprise snuck into the November solicitations. The first "interstitial" chapter first mentioned by the creative team in an interview with Den of Geek earlier this year will be in readers' hands three months after the first chapter concluded.
BLACK AF: America's Sweetheart is written by Osajyefo, with art from newcomer Jennifer Johnson and a cover from Sho Murase. Here's the solicitation text for the book, and a hearty SPOILER WARNING if you haven't finished BLACK #6 yet:
Can a black woman be America's first superhero? Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montana-and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet. In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks. When a super-terrorist threatens to take away everything Eli has worked toward, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance?
This looks to follow directly on the heels of the conclusion of the first series, where the world was made aware that there was a shadow war going on between different factions of superheroes; that the government was one of those factions; and that only black people could have super powers. The issue, while textually upbeat, was in actuality bleak as all hell. The fact that the vast majority of mutants can "pass" moves some of the horror of being subject to the kind of hatred that the X-Men saw into the background. The conclusion of BLACK moves that back to the foreground. In conclusion, this is really good storytelling.
BLACK AF marks Jennifer Johnson's first foray into comics. She is a game designer and illustrator, who previously worked as Art Director for Disco Is Dead, a co-op buddy cop arcade game. You can see more of her work here. Spoilers: it's real good.
BLACK AF: America's Sweetheart is an 84-page graphic novel from Black Mask Studios due out in November, 2017.
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What does The Defenders ending mean for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and future Marvel Netflix shows?
Just in case the title didn't clue you in, this article contains major spoilers for The Defenders and possible spoilers for Daredevil Season 3.
Well, it's over. Phase One of Marvel's Netflix initiative is complete with The Defenders. After five previous seasons of TV, The Defenders had a ton of work to do in order to wrap things up and set the stage for what's coming next. And while it was plenty satisfying, it left a whole bunch of mysteries that will need to be solved in future seasons. So let's get to work and see what's up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist...
Is Daredevil Really Dead?
What? No! What did you do, shut it off before it finished? Anyway, Daredevil Season 3 is already confirmed!
OK, so what's next for Daredevil and Matt Murdock after The Defenders?
Ah, that's a much better question. Matt is currently recuperating in a mysterious hospital bed, attended by nuns. Are you ready for some possible Daredevil Season 3 spoilers? Good.
The nun keeping vigil over Matt tells someone to "get Maggie." The Maggie in question here is Sister Maggie. Who is Sister Maggie? Well, you know how Matt has some Daddy issues and his Mom wasn't around? That's because Sister Maggie is Maggie Murdock (nee Grace), who didn't die when Matt was young, and instead decided to take the vows of the Catholic Church and become a nun. And you thought Matt was carrying some Catholic guilt around!
This is the first time we've heard her name in this specific context, it's been clear for some time that Father Lantom, the long-suffering priest that Matt is constantly confessing his sins to, has known Sister Maggie's identity and is keeping it secret. Is this mysterious recovery room in the same church Matt attends? I don't know.
Sister Maggie first appeared in Daredevil #229, as part of the all-time greatest Daredevil story, Born Again. She was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. I have long maintained that Born Again, which deals with Wilson Fisk taking his ultimate revenge on Matt Murdock, would make an incredible season of TV, and Sister Maggie showing up here is one tiny step towards that happening. Plus, when Matt returns, he kind of will be "Born Again."
Is Elektra dead?
Probably not. She's harder to kill than pretty much anyone else in comics. She'll be back.
What's up with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones?
That scene in the bar with Luke and Jessica was really great, wasn't it? There's definitely more to their relationship than friendship or an FWB situation. In the comics, after kind of dancing around the issue for awhile, they get together. And by "get together" I mean they get married and have a daughter. I wouldn't expect to see this happen in the second season of either of their shows, but it's bound to happen eventually. Ship it, or whatever it is you kids do.
Luke, on the other hand, looks like someone who will be quite eager to get back to Harlem to take on the lingering problem posed by Mariah Dillard and Shades.
OK, fine, so what's next for Jessica Jones?
I thought it was a really nice touch for Malcolm to finally have her door fixed for her. The Alias Investigations window/shingle hasn't been in place since literally the opening moments of her first season, so there's some nice symbolism having that come around and get fixed at the end here.
Although, I have to confess, I kind of hope that in the first episode of season two she throws somebody through it again.
What's next for Danny Rand/Iron Fist?
Y'know, I have to say, Danny Rand's arc was the most pleasant surprise of this season. I wasn't a fan of Iron Fist, but it turns out that Danny's irritating behavior in season one was actually by design, and the plan was always to have his metamorphosis into a true hero finally take place in The Defenders.
"There's a quote in Iron Fist season one, I think it was like, 'Cast off the childish needs' or something like that. I mean, Lei-Kung said that to [Danny], and he really has done that by the end of Defenders."Finn Jones told me in an interview recently. "He's got his shit together. He's grown up, and he now understands the responsibility of the Iron Fist. Like, before, he didn't know what to do with it. He didn't really respect it because he has his own issues that he had to deal with... At the end of Iron Fist, Danny doesn't even know what a superhero is. So then to suddenly be interacting with these three superheroes, it gives him a deeper sense of what he can do with this power that he has, so really just make him kind of wise up and come to term with responsibilities a lot more."
You can definitely see that dawning on him in the later episodes, and the clear sense of responsibility at the end. The shot of Danny on the rooftop looking out over the city is clearly meant to evoke Daredevil, and we're meant to think it is until his fist starts glowing. Danny was clearly inspired by Matt and his sacrifice. "By the end of The Defenders we really see the full formation of Danny into the Iron Fist as a superhero."
Expect a far more focused Danny Rand, potentially with a costume, whenever Iron Fist Season 2 gets here.
What's next for Misty Knight and Colleen Wing?
This, friends, looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Misty and Colleen are longtime partners in the comics, operating as the Daughters of the Dragon (remember when Colleen called herself that when she was doing her cage fighting thing on Iron Fist?) and various versions of Heroes for Hire. Colleen mentions that Danny is going to help Misty get some state-of-the-art care after losing her arm. Why is this a big deal?
Because Misty is getting a robot arm, kids! In the comics, Misty's bionic arm was designed by Tony Stark. I don't really see a reason why they couldn't go down that road here, but it seems that whatever she gets will instead be made by some division of Rand Enterprises.
Anyway, I'd totally watch a series with just the two of them, wouldn't you?
Will there be a Defenders Season 2?
Almost certainly, but we're gonna see five other seasons of TV first. Even if Marvel goes quarterly with these, we won't get it until 2019. I got into the details of this a little bit more right here if you need it broken down further. I think you probably get the idea, though.
Mike Cecchini talks about superheroes an awful lot on Twitter. Sometimes he talks about other things, too.
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